9:23 am British foreign secretary William Hague had strong words yesterday for the "unacceptable violence" in Libya. In videotaped remarks, he noted reports that security forces there are using heavy weaponry and have deployed a sniper unit against protesters: "We want to make clear to the Libyan government that just because there aren't television cameras present at the scenes that are going on in Libya, that does not mean that the world is not watching, and that doesn't mean that the world is going to ignore the way in which protesters and demonstrators are treated." 7:20 am Al Jazeera is speaking with a number of sources inside Libya, including Fathy Terbil, a lawyer who represents relatives of more than 1,000 people killed in an alleged 1996 "massacre" at Abu Salim jail in Tripoli. Terbil's arrest earlier in February helped ignite the ongoing protests. Speaking with Al Jazeera via an Internet phone on Saturday, Terbil said there had been a "massacre" in Benghazi, the country's second-largest city. Security forces were using civilian cars without license places to drive about the city and open fire; dozens had been killed, perhaps hundreds. "People here are living under very tough circumstances," Terbil said. Residents can't move about or drive their cars due to the random gunfire. Alleged mercenaries wearing yellow construction helmets - reported by numerous sources in the country - are roaming about and attacking protesters, he said.
7:01 am Here's our latest report on the deadly protests in Libya. Al Jazeera speaks with two witnesses in Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city, and summarizes events from around the country, utilizing citizen video that depicts violence being used against demonstrators: Gunfire from security forces, heavy-caliber shells and possible mercenaries: 1:14 am Ahmed, a Benghazi resident, told us: "Right now, the situation is even worse than earlier today. Shooting is going on until now. And at a nearby hospital, at least 150 people have been admitted, those injured and dead. As far as African mercenaries being seen in Benghazi, I have not seen any. But the military is all over the place." 1:03 am Mariam, a doctor speaking from a hospital in Benghazi, Libya tells Al Jazeera: "It's a massacre here. The military is shooting at all the protesters with live bullets, I've seen it happen with my own eyes. The military forces are everywhere, even from the hospital I work, we are not safe. There was an 8-year-old boy who died the other day from a gunshot to the head - what did he do to deserve this?"
10:00 pm As fresh violence grips Libya - there are claims that some of those cracking down on anti-government demonstrators are foreign mercenaries. 9:30 pm The events in Libya have sparked a show of solidarity in the US capital, Washington, DC, where protesters have rallied in front of the White House to call for an end to Gaddafi's rule. Photo by Reuters. 9:00 pm Another eyewitness told Al Jazeera earlier that protesters are asking for their "human rights" and said security forces have used "excessive force". 8:30 pm A doctor from Benghazi told Al Jazeera that the Al Jalaa hospital where he works has received 15 bodies and is treating numerous people following the shootings at the funeral, calling the incident evidence of a "shoot-to-kill policy".
"This is not a well-equipped hospital and these injuries come in waves. All are very serious injuries, involving the head, the chest and the abdomen. They are bullet injuries from high-velocity rifles. "All are civilians aged from 13 to 35, no police or military injuries," he said, adding that there was no way the wounds could have come from anyone other than security forces.
8:05 pm Libyan forces have reportedly opened fire at a funeral for protesters killed in the city of Benghazi, killing 15 people, witnesses tell Al Jazeera. 7:43 pm A resident of the eastern city of Benghazi makes a plea on Al Jazeera, saying hospitals in the city have been overwhelmed by the number of dead and injured. 7:00 pm A video billed as the first footage of protests in the Libyan city of Mesrata has been posted, appearing to show demonstrators in the streets shouting "The people want a change in regime". We cannot confirm where or when this video was shot. 6:34 pm A resident of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, has just left this audio recording with the site @Feb17voices after surveying the situation there, where she says 10,000 prisoners have escaped from a prison after a riot. It is not possible for Al Jazeera to independently verify her report. Listen to it here.
"There are a few police cars outside, they're roaming around. There's security at the prison. Last night there was a release of 10,000 prisoners. We passed by and they closed off the whole street."
4:00 pm Making the rounds on Facebook is a protest video, featuring the music of Libyan rapper Ibn Thabit. The video compilation is described as a "personal effort by a son of Libya to take part in what is now becoming a change across the entire Arab world". Check it out on YouTube here. 1:10 pm A source inside Benghazi tells Al Jazeera that the situation remains tense there today:
People woke up this morning with dozens of bodies and burnet vehicles in the streets. Snipers are still active in central Benghazi whilst other parts are completely liberated.
A funeral will go out from Al Jalaa Hospital and (perhaps) ... over 120 bodies are there. No details from other towns as mobile networks are very limited.
11:34 am The AP reports that Libyan "special forces" have stormed a protest encampent in Benghazi earlier today:
At 5:00 am on Saturday, special forces attacked hundreds of protesters, including lawyers and judges, camped out in front of the courthouse in the eastern city of Benghazi, which has been a focus for the anti-government unrest. 'They fired tear gas on protesters in tents and cleared the areas after many fled carrying the dead and the injured,' one protester said over the phone from Benghazi. 'This is a ghost city; we are all afraid that something big is going to happen in Benghazi today.'
8:49 am Al Jazeera reports that protests have now taken place in Benghazi, Darnah, Baida, Ajabiya, Quba, Tobruk, Zentan, Tripoli, Tajoura and Shahhat, and that a police station was set on fire in Benghazi. The security headquarters in Darnah was also burned down. 8:17 am The AP news agency reports that the situation in Libya is worsening with an escalating crackdown that has sent "a stream" of bodies into hospitals and morgues.
The deaths took place in the city of Benghazi after funerals for more than a dozen protesters shot to death a day earlier. The doctor in Benghazi's al-Jalaa hospital said survivors of Friday's clashes said that after the burials, protesters tried to rally outside the Katiba, a military compound where Ghadafi stays when he visits. Security forces inside the compound opened fire on protesters as they approached, the doctor said. Dead and wounded began flowing into the hospital's emergency ward in the afternoon, in groups of five or six, many with bullet wounds to the head or chest. He said he counted 35 bodies in an ICU unit used as a temporary morgue.
Al Jazeera has received footage of what appear to be one such makeshift morgue, but is unable to confirm where the material is from. Here are some still shots from the footage - note that the bodies are stored on the ground and in cupboards.
8:08 am Amid reports of protests outside court houses and police stations, Al Jazeera has found video of what appears to be a protest outside an official building, possibly a police station. They are shouting, "Oh, Benghazi, come see the oppressed people", and are shouting at the police stationed outside the building "Shame on you, you lied to us." Al Jazeera cannot confirm when or where the video was taken. 7:41 am There are reports that the internet access continues to be shut down in Libya today. The AFP reports:
Internet service was cut off in Libya on Friday as the regime evidently moved to strip anti-government protestors of ways to organize and communicate, according to Arbor Networks. Libya "abruptly disconnected" from the Internet at 4:15 pm.(00:15 GMT Saturday), according to the US based tracker of online traffic. Internet traffic in and out of the country halted suddenly after being throttled earlier in the day, according to an Arbor Networks chart titled.
5:50 am Human Rights Watch now says that Libyan Security forces have killed 84 people over three days Here's the breakdown they give on their site:
20 people in Benghazi, 23 in Baida, three in Ajdabiya, and three in Derna. Hospital sources told Human Rights Watch that security forces killed 35 people in Benghazi on February 18, almost all with live ammunition.
3:00 am A doctor in eastern Libya tells Al Jazeera that at least 70 people have been killed in the country since protests started. 1:00 am A blogger in Libya tells Al Jazeera that a large number of thugs armed with hammers and swords have stormed into central Benghazi. The blogger also received unconfirmed reports over the telephone that families were being killed and wounded in their own homes on Twenty Street. 12:54 am So many of the video and pictures coming out of Libya are delayed by hours, due to slow or non-existent Internet connections in the country. Here is a video of a mass of people gathered at a mosque in Benghazi earlier today: 12:12 am Most of our good information is coming out of Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city and reportedly the site of some of its largest protests and worst violence. Here's a picture from earlier on Friday of a large protest crowd gathered outside a courthouse, where we now hear around 20,000 people are camped out near some army tanks, which are not taking any action:
11:49 pm An AudioBoo report from Benghazi: Man: The army came out, ok, it was with tanks and they're telling us, seven people, protesters, that they're with them, and they're here to protect them and everything else. But we hear other things; in some other places of the city, the army's shooting people, and also I heard that they're taking over the airport and there's some airplanes arriving with more army corps from outside, from the other cities. I cannot confirm the airport thing, I cannot confirm it, I just heard it from you know people talking on the street now. But the army is now with protesters, they're standing with them, talking with them. But they're not saying why or who sent them or who controls them, they're not giving any information. Now I can say in some areas are quiet, in other areas there's an army base down in the middle of the city, there's a lot of gunfire two minutes ago. And people still trying to protest in front of it and the army has been shooting them. 11:48 pm Video posted on YouTube today by MeddiTV shows a "martyr's" funeral in Benghazi:
9:50 pm We've gotten our first English-language audio dispatch via the "Feb 17 Voices" list on Twitter, which is relaying AudioBoo clips from people calling from inside Libya. It comes from a young woman in Tripoli: Woman: (Indecipherable) ...and they just broke us up. We were about 300 people, and the cops came and they started shooting gunfire at us. They arrested a couple people and we're now, everyone just broke off. We were running. Uh, we're heading to the car, we're trying to get escape. The cops have just broke us off. Questioner: What were you guys chanting? Woman: Libya, al-sharg w al-gharb, Libya, al-sharq w al-gharb. (Libya, east and west.) 9:38 pm Around an hour ago, the White House put out a statement by US president Barack Obama, addressing unrest in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen:
I am deeply concerned by reports of violence in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen. The United States condemns the use of violence by governments against peaceful protesters in those countries and wherever else it may occur. We express our condolences to the family and friends of those who have been killed during the demonstrations. Wherever they are, people have certain universal rights including the right to peaceful assembly. The United States urges the governments of Bahrain, Libya and Yemen to show restraint in responding to peaceful protests, and to respect the rights of their people.
9:08 pm Some Twitter users have taken issue with our translator's interpretation of the video below, supposedly showing an injured man identifying himself as being sent by Khamis Gaddafi, one of Muammar Gaddafi's sons. Here is a translation provided by LibyaFeb17.com, which does not make any mention of the man's interrogators asking about his "color": Camera man: Speak loudly! Who sent you? Wounded man: Khamees Camera man: Khamees who? Wounded man: Khamees Mu’ammar Camera man: Which Battalion? Wounded man: Khamees Camera man: Where are you from? Wounded man: Tripoli Camera man: Did you all hear him? You saw this by yourself. (Another man out of shot): You killed us! Kill them! Camera man: No! it’s not them it’s the dog who sent them here they’ve only been ordered! **camera shifts to second injured/killed man** (Another man out of shot): This is another from the pile of dogs that… Camera man: Do you want to take him out and beat him up? Do you? (Another man out of shot): No no.. Camera man: Then leave it. 8:20 pm Video posted on Facebook by a user named Ahmed Salem reportedly shows an injured man identifying himself as a combatant sent by Khamis Gaddafi, one of leader Muammar Gaddafi's sons and the commander of a unit within Libya's army. Our translator can't verify that the man identifies himself as such. According to our translation, those around the injured man are yelling at him to identify where he is and where he comes from. They repeatedly say, "Look at his color! Look at his color!" - implying that he is one of the rumored non-Libyan combatants sent in to fight protesters. At one point, the man claims he is from Tripoli, but those around him do not appear to believe him.
7:58 pm Sources on the street in Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city and the site of large protests, are now claiming that they have driven government militias away and taken control. These reports are primarily being fed through English-speaking Twitter users who are not in Libya themselves, such as @ShababLibya, @Cyrenaican, and @ChangeInLibya. ShababLibya tweeted at 7:45: "#Benghazi protesters burnt down the radio station and taken the media and will make announcements shortly!! BREAKING URGENT #Libya" Cyrenaican also provided a link to what he said was an Internet radio station that had been set up in Benghazi by the youth. It is currently broadcasting in Arabic. 7:11 pm More reports of potentially very deadly fighting in Bayda. Aamir Saad, a political activist, claims that anti-government demonstrators in Bayda have "executed 50 African mercenaries" - presumably a reference to the government militias - and "two Libyan conspirators". Remember: Bayda is where protesters managed to regain hold of the city with the support of local police, according to Reuters. LibyaFeb17.com, an invaluable source of social media aggregation on the Libya protests, posted a translated version of the television interview given to Al Jazeera Arabic by Saad. 5:55 pm Al Jazeera speaks with Mohamed el-Berqawy, an engineer in Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city. Berqawy describes a "massacre" going on in the city and makes an impassioned appeal to the Arab League and United States for international help: 4:54 pm Following up on news of death tolls in Libya. Al Jazeera online producer Evan Hill spoke with a doctor in Benghazi earlier this morning who cited two close friends - doctors in Benghazi and Bayda - who reported 14 and 25 deaths in those cities, respectively. The death toll in Libya seems likely to rise above the earlier count of 24, reported by Human Rights Watch. 4:40 pm YouTube user "analibyana" or "I am a Libyan" posted this compilation of footage of recent protests in Libya. Please be warned that it contains graphic images of the injured and possibly dead: 3:41 pm There is a fierce battle over the eastern Libyan city of Bayda, the Reuters news agency reports. Two Libyan exile opposition groups earlier claimed that that the city had been taken over by anti-government protesters who were joined by local police forces, but now it appears that government "militias" have been reinforced and are clashing with residents, who are fighting back "with any weapons they could find." 2:06 pm Deadly attacks on peaceful protests - that is what eyewitnesses are reporting from all over Libya. The country's "day of rage" has left at least 24 people dead, according to Human Rights Watch. Despite media restrictions in Libya, reports of protests and violence have emerged on the Internet. Many amateur videos have also been uploaded, which cannot be independently verified. Al Jazeera's Caroline Malone reports: 12:16 pm Hassan El Amin, editor of the Libya Al Mostaqbal newspaper, talks live to Al Jazeera from London. He says that there are reports of 75 dead and hundreds injured in recent violence against protesters. 9:08 am BBC Radio, quoting an eyewitness, said protesters against leader Muammar Gaddafi's four-decade-long rule clashed with security forces, who were using guns, and that doctors had counted the bodies of 10 people. 8:31 am Thousands of anti-government protesters are on the streets of Libya's eastern city of Benghazi, a day after "day of rage" demonstrations led to fatal skirmishes with the security forces. 5:23 am In a statement on its website on Thursday, Human Rights Watch said Libyan security forces have killed at least 24 protesters and wounded many others in its crackdown on demonstrations. In the statement, Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said: "The security forces' vicious attacks on peaceful demonstrators lay bare the reality of Muammar Gaddafi's brutality when faced with any internal dissent." You can read the whole statement here. 4:41 am Video footage posted on YouTube shows protesters in the city of Tubruq on Thursday tearing down a monument to Muammar Gaddafi's famous "Green Book." The Green Book outlines Gaddafi's sweeping political and social views. Video posted by bluo85: 1:27 am The Euro-mediterranean Federation Against Enforced Disappearances (FEMED) released a statement on Thursday strongly condemning repression in Libya. The statement said:
Following the examples of Egyptians and Tunisians who manage to fall dictatorships with an exemplary movement, Libyans want today to exercise their right to express themselves freely and to demonstrate peacefully so they can express their claims.
FEMED reminds that the right for Libyans to express themselves through peaceful demonstrations is a basic right. In this country, where human rights are constantly infringed and freedom of expression almost non-existent, FEMED is fully supporting Libyans and Libyans organisations for the defence of human rights.
12:30 am Speaking to Al Jazeera on Thursday, Libyan ambassador to the United States Ali Suleiman Aujali said:
Libya is a free country, and people, they can say, can show their ideas, and the main thing is that it has to be in the frame of the law and it has to be peaceful, and that’s it.
When asked about allegations of people who have been killed, Aujali told Al Jazeera: “I’m really very busy here, and my business, and I have some delegations, and I don’t have time to follow up with every piece of news.” He added: "I am confident that Libya will handle this issue with great respect for the people." 12:15 amAyman Shurafa posted this picture on a social networking site:
11:00 pm Al Jazeera reports that Libyan protesters defied tonight's crackdown: 10:46 pm Al Jazeera online producer Evan Hill reports that the Libyan government has allegedly threatened to withdraw scholarship funding from some of its citizens studying in the United States unless they attend pro-government rallies in Washington this weekend. 10:30 pm Check out a live, crowdsourced Google map of protests and events in Libya:
10:00 pm The AFP news agency reported that clashes broke out in the city of Zentan, southwest of Tripoli, in which a number of government buildings were torched. 9:00 pm User Oya_libya tweets: if you are in #libya and can’t open youtube, use this DNS server 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168 8:00 pm Abdulla Darrat, a Libyan American activist, told Al Jazeera that he is organising a mass Libyan solidarity rally in Washington DC, Los Angeles and Seattle this weekend. 7:00 pm Hundreds of young Egyptians have demonstrated outside the Libyan consulate in Alexandria. A statement signed by various political groups – including representatives of the January 25 youth movement – delivered a petition asking Libya to respect popular demand for change and to avoid using violence against protesters. 6:30 pm Al Jazeera's Jacqueline Head reports from a rally on the fringe of London's Hyde Park, near the Libyan embassy. At the pro-Gaddafi camp, protesters waved the Libyan flag in front of large posters of their leader and banners praising his adminstration:
Photo by Jacqueline Head Ibrahim, a 39-year-old lecturer from Libya, told Al Jazeera that he was there to "protect" his country. "What's happened in Tunisia and Egypt is a different situation to Libya," he said. "Libya is a peaceful country and we are just living as one nation." Closeby, another group of protesters held placards reading "Get out." Abdulnasser Ashukr, from Beghazi, told Al Jazeera that he came to support people back Libya. "We have one message to Gaddafi and his regime: It's time for you to go," he said. "There is no other way. It's done. The Libyan people have decided, and they want you out of the country." Mohamed Abdulmalek, chairman of Libya Watch, a human rights organisation, told Al Jazeera that he believed there would be a lot of casualties in Libya and wanted the international community to stand against Gaddafi's government. "We condemn the brutal use of force in Libya, which the European Union and America and other countries have called upon Libya not to use, but the Libyan state knows no other language. "They have threatened to use live bullets against citizens. They have even threatened young people to close their Facebook accounts. They have also threatened the heads of tribes," he said.
Photo by Jacqueline Head 6:00 pm Abdullah, an eyewitness in Benghazi, told Al Jazeera that he saw six unarmed protesters shot dead by police. He also claimed that the government released 30 people from jail, paying and arming them to fight people in the street. 5:30 pm Several hundred supporters of Muammar Gaddafi, as well as the leader himself, have reportedly gathered in the capital, Tripoli, to counter online calls for anti-government protests. 5:15 pm The AFP news agency reported that six people have been killed in clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces in the coastal city of Benghazi, according to opposition websites. 4:15 pm The AP news agency reports that at least 14 demonstrators have been killed in clashes with pro-government groups since Wednesday. 9:30 am Another video from Bayda posted on YouTube by user MeddiTV:
9:00 am If you are in Libya and have witnessed protests, please send your pictures and videos to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. 6:00 am Libya is set for a "day of rage," as the wave of popular unrest that swept away the Tunisian and Egyptian presidents spreads to the oil-exporting north African country ruled by leader Muammer Gaddafi since 1969. 5:59 am Protesters clash with police in Benghazi:
5:58 amAt least two people have been killed in clashes between Libyan security forces and demonstrators in the town of Bayda, east of Benghazi, the second-largest city, as activists plan major anti-government 'day of rage' protests throughout the country on Thursday. "All the people of Bayda are out on the streets," said 25-year-old Rabie al-Messrati, who said he had been arrested after spreading a call for protests on Facebook.