Obama says Gaddafi 'must leave'; Friday protests planned for Tripoli
As demonstrations continue around the Middle East, we keep you updated on the developing situation. Use this chart to keep up with all of the demonstrations, day by day.
We'll be marking time in Eastern Standard Time. Tunisia is six hours ahead, Egypt and Libya are seven hours ahead, Yemen and Iraq are eight hours ahead, and Oman is nine hours ahead. (See World Clock here.)
As we close up for the night, Gaddafi loyalists have arrested hundreds of protesters in the capital in an attempt to head off renewed demonstrations planned for after Friday prayers.
Rebel fighters have said they plan to travel via Sirte, Gaddafi's home town and a major stronghold of his between Benghazi in the east and Tripoli in the west, and eventually oust Gaddafi, hunkered down in the capital, by force. Activists have also called for 1 million people to join demonstrations in Tripoli on Friday.
Thanks for being with us tonight, and come visit us tomorrow for the latest updates.
The Network of Free Ulema-Libya, a group of clerics in that country, says forces loyal to Col. Moammar Gaddafi have been carrying out a "massive kidnapping campaign">carrying out a broad campaign of abduction in Tripoli, al-Jazeera reported. The group says the forces have been targeting opposition activists in an effort to head off marches planned in the capital after Friday prayers.
The statement from the group read:
This is to URGENTLY notify the world and the International Criminal Court in particular, that Gaddafi and his criminal accomplices are currently (March 2nd and 3rd 2011) implementing a massive kidnapping campaign in Tripoli and its vicinities in order to 'clean up' key youth leaders before tomorrow's Friday prayers, and in order to 'look good' to the international Media, which has been invited to Tripoli as part of a public relations campaign aimed at covering up the crimes against humanity that have been inflicted upon the brave Libyan people. We call upon and urge every man and woman of good will, worldwide, to do their utmost to save our youth from the hands of Gaddafi, his thugs, and mercenaries."
Gaddafi's forces renewed their assaults on demonstrators. The International Criminal Court will investigate Gaddafi and his aides for alleged "crimes against humanity." Hugo Chavez offered to help mediate. The situation at the Tunisian-Libyan border worsened.
A lot happened Thursday. Here are your PHOTOS OF THE DAY:
Libyan Youth Movement, a rebel group that opposes Gaddafi's rule, has posted this map which they call "Mapping Violence Against Pro-Democracy Protests in Libya." The reports that contributed to this map have not been independently verified by the Post.
The group says they created the map by compiling reports from their 'trusted accounts' on Twitter.
The URL for this map is allegedly blocked in Libya.
View Mapping Violence Against Pro-Democracy Protests in Libya in a larger map
Benghazi hospitals are suffering from a severe shortage of medicine and blood, the Libyan Youth Movement wrote on its site today. Nurses and doctors are on the streets of Benghazi requesting blood donations. One nurse is quoted as saying: "Let's go people. We need blood donations. We need blood donations now."
U.S. President Barack Obama said Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi should leave power while speaking at a White House news conference Thursday. Obama said, "Going forward, we will continue to send a clear message: The violence must stop. Gaddafi has lost legitimacy to lead and he must leave."
Obama also said he has approved the use of U.S. military aircraft to pick up Egyptians on the Libya-Tunisia border. WATCH:
As forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi continued to launch airstrikes against two key rebel-held towns Thursday, an interview Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam did with Sky News Tuesday is just now garnering a reaction.
The video is being passed around after the International Criminal Court in The Hague announced it would investigate Gaddafi and his key aides for alleged crimes against humanity.
Saif told Sky News that Libyan government bombing raids on Brega were a "big misunderstanding" and insisted the country's air force had not been used to attack civilians. "The bombs (were) just to frighten them to go away. Not to kill them."
Watch the video below:
A Bahraini official said Thursday that Gulf officials are planning an economic aid package for Bahrain and Oman, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The package is in an effort to support the two oil-rich countries as they deal with anti-government protests. Member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council are holding discussions on the exact structure of the aid package, according to Sheik Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, the head of Bahrain's Economic Development Board.
International oil companies aren't sure who to court in the Libyan market because the country's future is so unpredictable, an analyst told United Press International.
Rebel forces are believed to control some of the country's key oil and natural gas assets, but the situation is constantly fluctuating. The International Energy Agency told UPI that Libyan oil production was down and oil transporters were charging exorbitant fees at the country's ports.
British flights have begun rescuing people who have fled the violence in Libya and are stranded on the Libyan-Tunisian border, BBC reported.
Some 800 people have been picked up from an airport in Tunisia and flown to Cairo by three U.K.-chartered planes.
The move came as British Foreign Secretary William Hague is to hold talks over the Middle East with his French counterpart, Alain Juppe. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appealed for an international airlift from refugee camps along the border to prevent a humanitarian crisis.
Between 80,000 and 90,000 people have fled to Tunisia since the unrest in Libya began, U.N. refugee agency UNHCR estimates.
Moammar Gaddafi has accepted an offer from Venezuela to mediate in Libya's political crisis after talks with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Al Jazeera reported.
Under Chavez's plan, an international peace commission would head to Libya to negotiate between Gaddafi and opposition groups.
Venezuelan's foreign minister allegedly discussed the offer with the head of the Arab League. Details of the plan could be announced by the Arab League in Cairo Thursday. The National Libyan Council, which gives a political face to the anti-Gaddafi uprising, rejects the concepts of talks entirely.
Chavez is Gaddafi's main ally in Latin America. Chavez posted a message on Twitter last week saying, "Long live Libya and its independence! Gaddafii faces a civil war!"
Vamos Canciller Nicolás: dales otra lección a esa ultraderecha pitiyanqui! Viva Libia y su Independencia! Kadafi enfrenta una guerra civil!!
The area around Ajdabiya and Brega was the scene of fighting between pro and anti-Gaddafi forces on Wednesday. Watch:
The Obama administration has cooled its tough talk on Libya, explaining that even a no-fly zone over the country would require a military attack on Moammar Gaddafi's regime and that the U.S. does not want war, AP reported.
"Let's just call a spade a spade: A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses," Defense Secretary Robert Gates told a congressional panel.
Statements by Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton revealed that short of an unlikely military offensive by a U.S.-led coalition, the options for international intervention to control the violence in Libya appeared highly limited.
As tens of thousands of anti-government protesters gathered in 'Change Square' outside of Sana'a University for the nineteenth day of protests in Yemen, a spokesman for a coalition of opposition groups says the alliance has suggested a plan to end the country's political crisis. The plan would involve President Ali Abdullah Saleh stepping down by year end.
The spokesman, Mohammed al-Sabri, says the five-point plan was sent to Saleh on Wednesday through religious scholars. He says the opposition is waiting for a response.
Al-Sabri said Thursday the suggestions also call for an investigation into the deaths of protesters in recent weeks.
Tweets from Yemen expressed their mistrust of Saleh and that the demonstrations were not over:
Not everyone will be happy to see Saleh go:
Three Dutch soldiers have been captured by Gaddafi loyalists in a failed attempt to evacuate two Dutch citizens from Sirte by helicopter, the BBC reported. Officials from the Netherlands are working to win their release.
Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi and his key aides will be investigated for alleged crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court, the chief prosecutor has said, according to Al Jazeera. ICC will investigate Gaddafi over claims that peaceful protesters had been attacked by forces loyal to him.
Chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, speaking at a press conference in The Hague, the Netherlands, on Thursday, said opposition forces will also be investigated.
See a photo of the press conference here.
At least three more powerful air strikes hit the oil-rich area of Brega this morning, despite the rebels' success in fighting off Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi's coordinated assaults Wednesday. There was also a strike near an army munitions storage unit just outside of Ajdabiya, about 40 miles away. But there was no ground fighting.
Emboldened by their victory Wednesday, some rebels said they planned to advance west and on to Gaddafi's stronghold of Tripoli, the capital. Gaddafi "has the force, but we have the heart," said Suleiman Abdel, a surgeon and, now, a rebel.
Egypt's prime minister, a close ally of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, resigned Thursday, bowing to protesters who are frustrated with the country's slow pace of reform.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which assumed control Feb. 11 when a mass uprising forced Mubarak to resign, announced Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq's departure by posting a brief statement posted its Facebook page. The council said Essam Sharaf, a former transportation minister, had been appointed to replace Shafiq, and would start forming a new government.
It was unclear whether the change would appease democracy activists who had called for a "Day of Determination" protest Friday to demand not only a new government, but also the dissolution of the state security apparatus, a new constitution and the formation of a civilian presidential council that would rule alongside the military one.
Posted by: JimW2 | March 3, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: wewintheylose1 | March 3, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: LETFREEDOMRING2 | March 3, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: GRILLADES | March 3, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Daljitkhankhana | March 3, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Daljitkhankhana | March 3, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: KBlit | March 3, 2011 4:14 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Maddogg | March 3, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: namyaluska | March 3, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse