THURSDAY, February 24
11:30 PM Gaddafi gave his third speech this morning. Translated by Al Jazeera. In his speech he again blames the revolution on “children on drugs” and tells parents to keep their children at home. He says no one over the age of 20 would take part in these acts, there is no reason for a revolution in Libya as there was reason in Egypt and Tunisia, and the whole thing was run by al-Qaeda. He described his position in the government as mostly symbolic “like Queen Elizabeth of England.”
9:30 PM Mustafa Abdel Galil, who resigned three days ago from his post as the country’s justice minister, spoke to Al Jazeera and warned that Gaddafi has biological and chemical weapons, and will not hesitate to use them against civilians, particularly in the case of the capital. “We call on the international community and the UN to prevent Gaddafi from going on with his plans in Tripoli,” he said. “At the end when he’s really pressured, he can do anything. I think Gaddafi will burn everything left behind him.”
Multiple witnesses told Al Jazeera that protesters were being shot in the town of Az Zawiyah by a Libyan army unit led by Gaddafi’s ally, Naji Shifsha. Ali, an eyewitness to the shooting, told Al Jazeera by phone that soldiers began shooting at peaceful protesters on Martyrs’ Square with heavy artillery at around 6am and had continued for 5 hours. He estimated as many as 100 protesters had been killed. Approximately 400 people had been injured and were now in the town’s hospital. In his speech, Gaddafi refered specifically to the protesters in Az Zawiyah, claiming they had been infiltrated by al-Qaeda.
There have been reports that pro-Gaddafi forces attacked Misrata, which was under the control of protesters, as well as Sabha in the south, and Sabratha, near Tripoli, which is in the west. Anti-government protesters appeared to be in control of the country’s eastern coastline, running from the Egyptian border through to the cities of Tobruk and Benghazi.
3:30 AM All week, Youtube has been removing videos from Libyan protesters as fast as they are put up. For days Twitter will only give you one page for the fast moving and well spammed hashtags #Libya and #Feb17, so if you don’t know who to follow there is no information there. Now Wikipedia refuses to display the flag that is flying over most of the country.Update: There is now a compromise.
2:00 AM Things have been very quiet in Tripoli since yesterday, after the speech dozens of people were very scared, even if they were anti government they went into the street and raised up the green flag. The Libya channel is telling people nothing is going on, the streets have been cleaned up, anti-Gaddafi graffiti is painted over, streets have been cleaned up and bodies taken away so even families don’t know where they are, we heard gunshots last night we don’t know whether it was his people celebrating or to put people in fear, he announced in a text message saying the schools were open and everyone should go back to their ordinary lives. … Benghazi said there is supposed to be a march of dozens of people coming our way and they want to start protesting, we don’t know how that is going to be. He announced in his speech that whoever wears green fabric or bandana or whatever on their arm with red writing that they are part of his regime and they are pro government, those people would be given weapons … and there were here six people, we saw them in the streets today.via feb17voices.
2:00 AM There are checkpoints on every street in Tripoli looking for suspicious anti-government people, everyone is living in fear, we have a neighbour that had two sons killed and they go out and wave the green flag out of fear, in my house we are split, one side wants to go back to Gaddafi out of fear of retribution, just giving up. via feb17voices.
2:00 AM Foreign journalists report from Benghazi.