2011-02-23 Live blog for #Libya #Feb17 from February 15 – 28

WEDNESDAY, February 23

11:30 PM Saadi Gaddafi told the Financial Times by telephone that his brother Saif al-Islam, was working on a new constitution and would make an announcement about it soon and “My father would stay as the big father who advises.” He also said as much as 85 per cent of the country was now “very calm and very safe. It is now 2pm in Tripoli and it is very calm and quiet – 50 or 60 per cent of the people are working normally,” and the Financial Times said he sounded “relaxed”. “The army is still very strong,” he said. “If we hear anything, we will send some battalions. When people see the army, they will be afraid.” Asked about all of the diplomats who have resigned this week he said, “I don’t care about these guys. My diplomacy is to be honest and tell the truth.” He blamed the revolution on “thousands” of al-Qaeda and people on “very powerful” drugs, such as amphetamines or ecstasy. “We have tonnes of the pills they were given.”

11:30 PM Reports continue of mercenaries headed to Libya from other African countries.

11:30 PM AFP reports that the African Union has finally condemned “the disproportionate use of force” against civilians in Libya and expressed regret at the loss of life there. AU Commission chief Jean Ping was following the situation in Libya “with great concern” and “condemns the disproportionate use of force against civilians and deeply deplores the many human lives lost so far, is in contact with the Libyan authorities and other actors, and will pursue his efforts for an end to the spilling of blood.” He also asked for “an immediate end of the repression and violence”, stressed “that only dialogue and consultation will enable the Libyans to find appropriate solutions to the challenges facing their country and to embark upon the necessary reforms,” and asked “all the actors concerned to favour dialogue in order to open new prospects for Libya in peace, security and democracy.”

The African Union, which Gaddafi helped create and is populated by dictators he has supported with Libyan money, has been silent all week as the Arab League and the UN have both issued statements condemning the violence in Libya. Calls to the international community to end the violence have also not been directed at the African Union whose authority might be thought to be responsible for its member states. Speculation that Gaddafi may seek refuge in Venezuela seems odd when states that he has bankrolled are so much closer.

10:40 PM Reuters reports that a plane sent by Gaddafi to bomb Benghazi on Wednesday crash landed after the crew bailed out of it rather than bomb the city. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said that as many as 1000 Libyans have been killed in the last week. “I would like the suspension of economic, commercial and financial relations with Libya until further notice,” President Nicolas Sarkozy of France said, and US President Barack Obama also said they would look at U.N. sanctions. Neither commented on how this would be of any assistance to the Libyan people.

10:00 PM “CONFIRMED: at least 2 tanks have pulled up in Tajurah seems they are put in strategic locations – earlier also confirmed 2 tanks in BayView area also in #tripoli Also we have reports that there are approximately 22-24 tanks dotted around different areas in #tripoli #libya this number is UNCONFIRMED” via @libyansrevolt

10:00 PM BREAKING: Soldiers in Derna massacred for not firing at Libyans (GRAPHIC) via libyafeb17

10:00 PM Mass burial in Tripoli via libyafeb17

9:30 PM Reports of 1500 (some reports of 300) young men found trapped in an underground prison in Benghazi, left without food or water from the 15th of February to the 22nd. Reportedly still all alive.

9:30 PM Protesters have taken control of Kufra.

8:30 PM From SultanAlQassemi “Next tweets will the be the names of the three army generals to keep an eye out for in #Libya for a possible military coup against Gaddafi. 1- Abu Bakr Younis Jaber, Chief of Libyan Army since the late 1970’s, long time Gaddafi ally, now rumoured to be under house arrest. 2- Lieutenant Abdel Fatah Younis El Obeidi, Minister of Public Security, rumoured to have joined the protests. Whereabouts unknown. 3- Al Mahdi Al Arabi, Deputy Chief of Staff, rumoured to be under house arrest, also rumoured to have lead a failed coup attempt.

Report of a plane supposedly carrying Aisha Gaddafi refused permission to land in Malta.

Report of a plane supposedly carrying Hannibal Gaddafi’s wife and several other Gaddafi family members refused permission to land in Lebanon.

9:00 AM Protesters in Tripoli.

9:00 AM Old Libyan flag raised over Tripoli.

9:00 AM Man saved by Quran.

9:00 AM Mother of Tunisian fruitseller Mohamed Bouazizi, the young man from Sidi Bouzid whose act of self-immolation triggered the Tunisian Uprising, speaks to Libyan mothers.

3:20 AM “Warfalla Cheif Libya’s most largest tribe said he backed the protesters & wud send his people 2 Tripoli to assist in the final battle” via @ShababLibya

3:00 AM “violence is still going on right now in #tripoli – few last pockets but cannot see it lasting too long” via @libyansrevolt

1:45 AM There are Gaddafi supporters and some police in about 50 cars going around Tripoli making a lot of noise and celebrating as if they won. Caller is not sure what they won. Caller thinks the regime has already fallen. He also thinks the supporters may still be some from African nations or tribes from the south or Iraq, not from Tripoli. They do not have enough manpower to harass people in the street. Caller estimates Gaddafi may have a couple thousand supporters left, mostly surrounding Gaddafi homes. He thinks there may have been defections, there are less than yesterday. “It’s hilarious. It’s very obvious Gaddafi has been defeated, and he has lost his mind.” Caller has heard people were given 17,000 dinars to participate in demonstrations, not fighting. A lot of people are still very afraid, some have been paid, and if even 1% of the population supports him, he will have a couple thousand supporters. Source.

1:30 AM Al Jabal Al Akhdar battalion joins protesters

1:30 AM Gaddafi’s speech via Times of Malta (and others):

  • ‘Cowards’ were trying to distort the truth and giving a wrong picture of what was happening in Libya. Libyans, he said, were being shown as being ‘bad people’.
  • The Libyan people should hold their heads high against the leaders of the world who were conspiring against them and wanted to tarnish the reputation of the people and the country.
  • He would not give up and would resist to the end of his life because this was his country, watered by the Libyan people’s blood.
  • The Libyan people would defy the tyranny of the United States and other countries.
  • “I am a warrior” fighting to give dignity to the country against a bunch of rats who were paid to disfigure the country.
  • “I am not going to leave this land, and I will die here as a martyr’.
  • The enemies knew that Col Gaddafi was not an ordinary person. His house had been bombed, his children had been killed. And the rats were with the United States.
  • But the Libyan people would not give up, Africa would not give up. Libya had defeated the colonialist Italy, the US and Britain, and would remain defiant.
  • Innocent people had been attacked in their homes and the streets by youths who had been manipulated and drugged. This was a small, paid group used by others who stayed at home.
  • He, as the head of the revolution, had liberated Benghazi and Tobruk, ousting the American and British bases. The current generation should remember the high price which their fathers had paid for Libyan liberation, and their honour would not be tarnished.
  • The administration of the country was in the hands of the people through their committees and congresses. He was calling on the people to administer the oil resources of the country through new municipal committees.
  • He was calling on the people to liberate and purify Benghazi and let it be run by its own people, not others. The young people in Benghazi should know that they had been duped and did not know what they were doing.
  • Tripoli was free and should be administered by its people.
  • The masses should take to the streets and form new committees and municipalities for local administration.
  • Those who sided with Gaddafi and the revolution should secure the streets and remember the evacuation of the Americans and the return of oil assets to the Libyan people, he added.
  • Since he was not president, since he had no position, he would not resign. But he had his gun and he would fight for Libya.
  • The people should not let their young get drunk and be misled. The gangs, like cockroaches, did not represent anyone, they were nothing, just a handful trying to imitate what had happened in Egypt and Tunisia after being drugged.
  • From tomorrow the police and the army would impose security. If these cockroaches were allowed to prevail, Libya would slide into darkness and lose its oil.
  • He had rebuilt Benghazi but they had destroyed it. They had also destroyed its airport. Other cities such as Derna had also been attacked.
  • But they had to be repulsed and the US should not be allowed to occupy Libya like Afghanistan. The enemy had to be chased and the terrorists had to be hanged. Anybody who took arms against Libya would be executed. Those who waged war against Libya would be put to death. Those who facilitated entry of the enemy into Libya or handed over Libyan cities would be executed.
  • Reading from the green book, all those who used force against the people would be punished by death. The same applied for those who took part in or instigated civil war.
  • He had not ordered anyone to start firing yet, because had he done so, everything would be set ablaze and Libya would end up like Somalia.
  • The millions of Libyans should restore order, take back their oil assets and do what they liked with it.
  • Rebellion in Waco in the US , the coup in the Soviet Union and in Tiananmen Square had been repulsed with tanks because unity was more important. Libya would also do whatever it takes not to allow part of the country (Benghazi and Derna) to be taken away.
  • Opponents should give up their weapons, their drugs and their ring leaders, and shops should reopen as normal.
  • It was unacceptable for the country to be torn apart or handed to the crazy people who did not know their history.

1:00 AM UN Security Council statement from Al Jazeera:

The members of the Security Council expressed grave concern at the situation in Libya. They condemned the violence and use of force against civilians, deplored the repression against peaceful demonstrators, and expressed deep regret at the deaths of hundreds of civilians. They called for an immediate end to the violence and for steps to address the legitimate demands of the population, including through national dialogue.

The members of the Security Council called on the Government of Libya to meet its responsibility to protect its population. They called upon the Libyan authorities to act with restraint, to respect human rights and international humanitarian law, and to allow immediate access for international human rights monitors and humanitarian agencies.

The members of the Security Council called for international humanitarian assistance to the people of Libya and expressed concern at the reports of shortages of medical supplies to treat the wounded. They strongly urged the Libyan authorities to ensure the safe passage of humanitarian and medical supplies and humanitarian workers into the country.

The members of the Security Council underlined the need for the government of Libya to respect the freedom of peaceful assembly and of expression, including freedom of the press. They called for the immediate lifting of restrictions on all forms of the media.

The members of the Security Council stressed the importance of accountability. They underscored the need to hold to account those responsible for attacks, including by forces under their control, on civilians.

The members of the Security Council expressed deep concern about the safety of foreign nationals in Libya. They urged the Libyan authorities and all relevant parties to ensure the safety of all foreign nationals and facilitate the departure of those wishing to leave the country. The members of the Security Council will continue to follow the situation closely.

1:00 AM “AJE: One Libyan Navy ship is in the waters off Malta. Italy scrambled 5 fighter jets to investigate intentions.” via @feb17voices

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