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Posted at 3:00 PM ET, 03/ 3/2011

Obama says Gaddafi 'must leave'; Friday protests planned for Tripoli

By Elizabeth Flock
New Libyan rebel recruits flash the victory sign and chant slogans as they stand in formation during a training session after signing up with the forces against Libyan leader Gaddafi at a training base in Benghazi, eastern Libya, on Thursday March 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

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.)

LIBYA: 12:26 a.m. (EET), Friday / 5:30 p.m. (EST), Thursday

Hundreds of protesters arrested before protests Friday

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.

Libyan gunmen from the forces against Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi fire in the air during a mass funeral for rebel gunmen killed in fighting in Ajdabiya, eastern Libya, Thursday, March 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)

Thanks for being with us tonight, and come visit us tomorrow for the latest updates.

LIBYA: 11:42 p.m. (EET) / 4:42 p.m. (EST), Thursday

Clerics accuse Gaddafi forces of 'massive kidnapping campaign'

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."

LIBYA: 10:36 p.m. (EET) / 3:36 p.m. (EST), Thursday

Photos of the day

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:

A man walks inside a damaged reception room of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi inside his personal headquarters in Benghazi's airport March 3, 2011. (REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)
Mourners pray next to coffins containing the bodies of rebels killed in clashes with forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi in Brega, during their funeral in Benghazi March 3, 2011. (REUTERS/Suhaib Sale)
People who used to work in Libya and fled the unrest in the country, play soccer in a refugee camp set up by the Tunisian army, at the Tunisia-Libyan border, in Ras Ajdir, Tunisia, Thursday March 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Migrant workers who recently crossed into Tunisia from Libya line-up to receive food and water at a temporary camp on March 03, 2011 in Ras Jdir, Tunisia. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Members of the Islamic Group Movement pray during a rally in support of Libyans revolting against Moammar Gaddafi, at the Al Shaheed Mosque in Khartoum March 3, 2011. (REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

LIBYA: 10:06 p.m. (EET) / 3:06 p.m. (EST), Thursday

Map by opposition group

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

LIBYA: 9:07 p.m. (EET) / 2:07 p.m. (EST), Thursday

Benghazi hospitals reportedly in need of blood

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."


WASHINGTON: 1:47 p.m. (EST), Thursday

Obama says Gaddafi 'must leave'

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:

LIBYA: 8:26 p.m. (EET) / 1:26 p.m. (EST), Thursday

Gaddafi's son says bombing 'a big misunderstanding'

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:

OMAN: 10:00 p.m. (GST) / 1:00 p.m. (EST), Thursday

Economic aid for Bahrain

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.

LIBYA: 7:00 p.m. (EET) / 12:00 p.m. (EST), Thursday

Oil companies unsure who to court in Libya

A Libyan oil worker works at a refinery inside the Brega oil complex in Brega east of Libya, on Saturday Feb. 26, 2011. Production at Brega has dropped by almost 90 percent amid the country's crisis because many employees have fled and few ships are coming to offload the product. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

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.

LIBYA: 6:30 p.m. (EET) / 11:30 a.m. (EST), Thursday

British begins rescuing refugees

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.

LIBYA: 5:30 p.m. (EET) / 10:30 a.m. (EST), Thursday

Gaddafi accepts offer for mediation by Venezuela

Gaddafi, left, and Chavez wave upon their arrival to the old port in Porlamar, on Margarita Island, Venezuela, Monday, Sept. 28, 2009. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

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!!less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

LIBYA: 4:55 p.m. (EET) / 9:55 a.m. (EST), Thursday

Libyan rebels battle Gaddafi forces near Ajdabiya

The area around Ajdabiya and Brega was the scene of fighting between pro and anti-Gaddafi forces on Wednesday. Watch:

WASHINGTON: 9:40 a.m. (EST), Thursday

Washington cools talk on Libya

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.

YEMEN: 5:00 p.m. (AST) / 9:00 a.m. (EST), Thursday

Yemeni opposition suggests way out of crisis

Yemeni protesters chant slogans calling for the immdiate ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh during a massive anti-regime rally in the capital Sanaa on March 3, 2011. (AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)

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:

RT plz @ArabRevolution pic showing top critical positions in #Yemen ruled by The Kingdom of #AliSaleh family than a minute ago via web

#Yemen's president apologizes for blaming #US (& says committed 2 reform for the 9,999 time) than a minute ago via web

2morrow's demonstrations in #Taiz are expected 2 be the largest in #Yemen. Special preparation in Freedom Sq is being made.less than a minute ago via web

Not everyone will be happy to see Saleh go:

A Yemeni suppporter of President Ali Abdullah Saleh kisses his portrait as she takes part in a rally in the capital Sanaa on March 3, 2011, as Yemen's opposition and clerics offered Saleh a smooth exit from power by the end of this year. (AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)

LIBYA: 3:45 p.m. (EET) / 8:45 a.m. (EST), Thursday

Dutch soldiers detained in Libya

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.

LIBYA: 3:31 p.m. (EET) / 8:31 a.m. (EST), Wednesday

Gaddafi to be investigated for alleged crimes against humanity

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.

LIBYA: 3:01 p.m. (EET) / 8:01 a.m. (EST), Thursday

More airstrikes on rebels by Gaddafi's forces

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.

Libyan rebels sit on their tank as they going forward to battle against pro-Gaddafi fighters, in the town of Brega, east of Libya, on Wednesday, March 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

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.

A rebel aims a rocket launcher in Brega March 3, 2011. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)

EGYPT: 3:01 p.m. (EET) / 8:01 a.m. (EST), Thursday

Egypt's prime minister resigns

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.

In this Thursday Feb. 3, 2011 file photo Egypt's recently appointed Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq speaks to the media at the Ministry of the Interior in Cairo, Egypt. (AP Photo/Victoria Hazou, file)

By Elizabeth Flock  | March 3, 2011; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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Who cares what chavez has to say.
He is just another petty repressive dictator who will soon be overthrown by his own people and end up in court for all of the crimes he has committed against his own people.
I would bet he is gone before the end of the year.

Posted by: JimW2 | March 3, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I can hear Gaddafi laughing from here..

Posted by: wewintheylose1 | March 3, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Obama: Gadaffi lost his legitimacy to lead. When did Gadafi ever have a legitimacy? He has been a genocidal maniac from the start!

Posted by: LETFREEDOMRING2 | March 3, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Obama: Gadaffi lost his legitimacy to lead. When did Gadafi ever have a legitimacy? He has been a genocidal maniac from the start!

Posted by: LETFREEDOMRING2 | March 3, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse
Echoing that point. So, in the eyes of the president, the bomber of the Pan Am and UTA flights was a legitimate leader until the last few weeks.

Posted by: GRILLADES | March 3, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Dear Protesters. We know hard time to say something But sometimes a simple idea can save hundredrs.
The protestor open a channel in various direction. Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Behrain, Yemen Etc.
1. Protester needs to show their unity and they need to take action one by one. clear and strong that should be target to achieve without bloodshed.
2. Demonstrator needs to call opposition and form a committee that will guide them to achieve democratic paltform. They need a person that can build diplomat relationship with the world societies they are supporting their innocent actions.
Every country needs to form an organization that can draw a new constitution. Victory is possible if a route will be established to make assue the public, a new future will be bright for the country.
The Egyptian, Libyan, Behrainan, yemen, Tunisian, people living abroad and supporting for new start, needs to come forwqard to support their people's revolution. The people they leave commits also needs to fill the blanks so the painfull people can feel relief.

Posted by: Daljitkhankhana | March 3, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Education provides tools that an educator can achieve his target in any crisis. I didn't see any intellectual in Libya that can understand the politics and relationship of Public with the state. Muslim world needs to support the protestors. I were accepting, as Saudi Arabia will lead to establish relatiuonship with anti and pro supporters to draw a clear vision for the states. Ruler are still sleeping in Arab and thinking perhaps its not their duty to pursue the Muslims to establish Peace. Perhaps Saiudi MOnarch is also frightened that if he will support in others states the Saudi People might demand a Democratic system in Saudi Arabia.
Arab Nations needs to listen their brother and sisters and try to reduce pain.
I am also calling to Iran to listen their statement that they delivered This revolution is the cause of their anti western approach.
Is Iran also in the favour of this change?
They also need to come forward to reduce pain in growing cruel hands. This is time to grow relationship with US, UK, Europe and Ellies. There is no need to strengthen the conflict. It's stupid idea to kill Public. Iran also needs to support his public that is seeing reform in the country. President needs to call the opposition and confirm them what do they want? no need to oppose them. Need to listen them. Iran needs to follow the world rulers. Not need to oppose western. WE need to live peacefully to respect our wisdom.

Posted by: Daljitkhankhana | March 3, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Until the magical phrase: "shocked, appalled, amazed" in used together you know it is not serious.

Did you ever wondered what would happened if say the Afghan government would say to the US we are not legitimate and ask us to leave so they could decide their own fate? Hummmmmmmm!

Posted by: KBlit | March 3, 2011 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Libya is not the business of the USA. Pols do not need to use Libya to prove they are tough on whatever.........................

To limit the pols use of the military to show how tough the pols are we need a sizable "War Tax".

Posted by: Maddogg | March 3, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

The Libyan ex-justice minister, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, has already disclosed that the Libyan dictator, Al Qaddafi, did, personally, issue the order to explode the Pan Am plane over Lockerby in the UK. The incident resulted in a catastrophe of unprecedented dimensions on humanitarian and political levels. The Libyan regime denied its involvement in the act of terror against civilians. Regardless of the settlement struck with this dictator, which resulted in lifting the ban imposed on his criminal regime, and regardless of the crimes that this dictator is currently committing against his own people,
the Lockerby crime alone is more than enough to justify holding him responsible for committing premeditated crime(s) against humanity. I recall also the shooting-to kill of a British policewoman, before the Lockerby tragedy, in the vicinity of the Libyan embassy in London. Such cold-blooded crimes show that the Qaddafi regime has been very short on tolerance and democracy … and very, very long on lying, cheating and distortion of facts.
Based on that I call on the USA and the UK to work seriously on the possibility of kidnapping this dictator and as many as possible of his close assistants and advisers in order to bring them before the International Court of Justice on account of having committed premeditated crimes against humanity.

Posted by: namyaluska | March 3, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

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