Libya rocked by fresh protests; thousands march through Jordan's capital
As demonstrations continue around the Middle East, we keep you updated on the developing situation. Use this map 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 sign off for the night, the internet goes dark in Libya, according to AP. Gaddafi forces unleashed their fiercest counterattack yet Friday, assaulting rebel-held positions by ground and air and firing on demonstrators in the government stronghold of Tripoli.
Thanks for being with us today, and please stay with our World Page this weekend for the latest updates.
This post originally stated that the map was created by Ushahidi, not by the Standby Volunteer Task Force in collaboration with UN OCHA. This version has been updated.
The Standby Volunteer Task Force, a team of volunteer forces who are on standby to do crisis mapping, and UN OCHA, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, have together developed a crisis map for Libya to "support humanitarian preparedness operations" in the nation.
Patrick Meier, founder of the Standby Task Force, says mapping Libya was much easier than Haiti for many reasons, but a prime reason was the live map of reports that could be generated from Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and mainstream media sources.
Meier says the map may be open to the public in coming days. Catch a glimpse of the map below:
At least 30 civilians have been killed after pro-Gaddafi forces attempted to retake the rebel-held town of Zawiyah, near the capital Tripoli, Al Jazeera reported.
The rebellion in Zawiyah, the site of an oil refinery and closest rebel-held territory to the capital, has been an embarrassment to the Libyan authorities who want to show they control at least the west of the country.
Eastern regions of the country around the city of Benghazi already belong to rebel forces.
Thousands of demonstrators marched through the Jordanian capital on Friday, demanding democratic reforms and an end to official corruption, Joel Greenberg reported.
The mainly Islamist crowd, joined by liberal and leftist activists, marched after Friday prayers to a square in the center of Amman, shouting: "We want to reform the regime," and "We want to fight the thieves who have robbed the country."
Previous demonstrations in Jordan have been smaller than in other Arab countries but Friday's rally is posing a mounting challenge to King Abdullah II.
The opposition demanded Jordan's new prime minister resign and asked for a unity government to usher in swift reforms.
"We want a truly representative parliament not one that is the outcome of vote rigging," Jamil Abu Baker, a leading member of the Islamic Action Front, (IAF), the political arm of Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood, told the crowd.
The protestors are not calling for the removal of the king or the monarchy, still seen by many Jordanians as a national symbol and a vital unifying force in a country with a large Palestinian population and rival tribes.
Yet organizers from the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition group in Jordan, who were joined by smaller leftist parties, ratcheted up their chants: "The people want to reform the regime!," they roared, echoing the battle-cry of the Egyptian revolution: "The people want to topple the regime!"
Rebels attacked a government force at an oil port 380 miles east of Tripoli. They advanced on the port from Brega, an oil facility to the east where they repelled an attack by regime forces earlier this week. Watch:
Tens of thousands of protesters packed a two-mile stretch of highway in central Manama Friday afternoon, Michael Birnbaum reported. Protesters waved red-and-white Bahraini flags and called for the government to resign.
Thousands more marched on Bahrain's state television station, AP reported. Protesters there questioned why the station has consistently minimized the extent of protests.
The protests appeared to be the largest yet for Bahrain. A street fight that broke out Thursday night between Sunnis and Shiites was the first reported violence since the country's armed forces fired on protesters two weeks ago, killing seven people. It was unclear how many were involved in the fight.
Some leading opposition groups agreed Thursday to come to the negotiating table with Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa over reforms that would give the country's Shiite majority more of a voice in government. But many protesters said that those groups did not speak for them, and no resolution appeared immediately at hand.
The international effort to help many thousands stranded around the Libyan border has picked up speed, although the flow of evacuees across the border slowed somewhat on Friday. Watch:
UPDATE 7:07 p.m. (EET) / 12:07 (EST): Mohamed Magid, spokesman for the opposition in Zawiya says pro-Gaddafi forces have reached the gates of the city, climbing upon the tallest buildings just outside the edge of town and firing indiscriminately on crowds after Friday prayer. But he denied government claims it had retaken the city, saying "that is lie, we are still in the square, Zawiya has not fallen."
A rebel spokesman said the Libyan army has staged a prolonged artillery barrage on the city of Zawiyah, west of Tripoli, and there have been many casualties, according to Reuters.
"There has been heavy shelling of Zawiyah by Gaddafi's forces and we are hearing of many casualties. How many, I don't know," Mustafa Gheriani, a spokesman for the rebel February 17th Coalition, said.
A doctor in Zawiya told our correspondents that there are more than a hundred wounded and at least 10 dead. He says the city is still in rebel hands.
The head of the London School of Economics has resigned over the reputational damage caused by the university's controversial links with the Libyan regime, Karla Adam reported.
Howard Davies, the director of the London School of Economics, told a BBC radio program on Friday that he was stepping down because the school's reputation had been "damaged" and "it will recover more quickly if I accept the responsibility for two errors of judgment."
Davies says he gave "poor advice" to the school on the decision to accept a donation from a charity run by Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, Gaddafi's son and an LSE alumni.
Scrutiny surrounding the school's financial ties with the Libyan regime, now under siege, intensified on Thursday following a WikiLeaks cable that revealed Libya paid the LSE $3.6 million -- $2.4 million that has been received -- to train 400 professional and government employees.
On this particular point, Davies denied any wrongdoing: "I'm actually proud of fact that universities like [those in the] U.K. do educate people in difficult countries," he told the BBC.
Thousands of people have converged on Baghdad's Tahrir Square and elsewhere in Iraq in anti-government demonstrations Friday against corruption and unemployment, AP reported. The protesters came to Baghdad despite security checkpoints and a vehicle ban that forced many to walk for hours to the heart of the capital.
Essam Sharaf, the new Egyptian prime minister, addressed a massive rally by pro-democracy campaigners in Cairo's Tahrir Square after prayers Friday, Al Jazeera reported. Tahrir Square was the site of anti-government protests that brought the ouster of President Mubarak last month.
Sharaf appeared on the stage with Mohammed el-Beltagy, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is a large Sunni political opposition group.
In his brief speech, Sharaf told the people that the country's security apparatus must work for them. He assured the cheering crowds that he had come "to draw legitimacy" from them, and said he will do whatever he can to respond to their demands.
"I'm telling you, I came here because I've been assigned a big responsibility, a heavy burden, that requires patience and strong will. And there is no other place other than here than Tahrir, where we can extract this will and determination. We are with you," Sharaf told the crowds gathered in the square.
At least 1000 people protesting against the rule of Moammar Gaddafi have taken to the streets of the Tripoli, the nation's capital, Al Jazeera reported. Forces loyal to Gaddafi tried to break up a crowd of several hundred protesters who streamed out of mosques after Friday prayer chanting, "Gaddafi is the enemy of God!."
Pro-Gaddafi forces fired tear gas at protesters, AP reported, saying at least five cannisters were fired at the crowd in the district of Tajoura in the capital.
"They fired tear gas. I heard shooting. People are scattering," a reporter from the Reuters in Tajoura said.
Another Reuters reporter on the edge of the Tajoura district said heavy shooting could be heard, and a convoy of SUVs carrying security forces raced through a checkpoint toward the site of the demonstrations.
"This is the end for Gaddafi. It's over. Forty years of crimes are over," said Faragha Salim, an engineer at the protest in Tajoura, according to Reuters.
Rebels told Reuters they were open to talks only on Gaddafi's exile or resignation. They also called for foreign air strikes to set up a no-fly zone.
"We're going to take it all, Ras Lanuf, Tripoli," Magdi Mohammed, an army defector, fingering the pin of a grenade, told Reuters at the rebels' front-line checkpoint.
The Libyan Youth Movement, an opposition group, is live streaming from Benghazi, another key city in Libya hit by protests. The Washington Post cannot independently verify this stream.
Yesterday we posted a map of the protests created by the Libyan Youth Movement. You can see it here.
Government forces opened fire on anti-government protesters in the north Friday, killing four people, AFP reported. Reports on the numbers dead differ. Abh Hashem, a spokesman for the insurgent group Houthis, says there are three dead and seven injured.
In the capital Sanaa, massive crowds gathered for weekly Muslim prayers in a square where anti-Saleh protesters have been camped since Feb. 20. Organizers said more than 100,000 people were demonstrating in Sanaa on Friday.
Opposition groups have presented President Ali Abdullah Saleh with a plan for a smooth transition of power, but Saleh has not responded, according to Voice of America. He has said he will not seek re-election when his current term expires in 2013.
A blogger in Yemen tweeted this photo from the scene:
Libya is bracing for another day of mass protests against Gaddafi's rule, in which conflict between anti-government protesters and Gaddafi forces is expected. The protests are expected to start after noon prayers, which are underway now.
To prepare for the protests, government forces have set up checkpoints in the capital of Tripoli and are cruising around in civilian cars, Al Jazeera reported. Internet services have been reportedly disrupted in the city.
In other strategic cities, such as Ajdabiya, rebel and loyalist forces continue to battle as Gaddafi forces conduct airstrikes. Hundreds of mourners have buried victims of those battles.
Tunisia's caretaker president has announced July elections to pick an assembly charged with writing a new constitution. Demonstrators in the capital greeted the news with cheers and songs. Watch:
In a televised speech, interim President Fouad Mebazaa said he and the caretaker government will stay in power until the election is held.
Tunisia's newly appointed prime minister, Beji Caid Essebsi, has said he hopes to form a new interim government within two days, Al Jazeera reported.
Essebsi described former Presidents Ben Ali's former regime as "a gang of saboteurs. ... They have eaten up the gains, the flesh of the country," he said.
The country has struggled to restore stability after President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was ousted from power on Jan. 14.
Libya says it intercepted 37 million units of a painkiller aimed at altering the minds of young people to revolt, Al Jazeera reported. Gaddafi had earlier said the protesters were fighting under the influence of "hallucinogenic drugs."
Mahmoud Ali, who claimed to be head of Libya's anti-narcotics department, says authorities intercepted shipments of Tramadol which had originated in Dubai and were purchased by a Libyan drug dealer with ties to al-Qaeda, according to Reuters.
"The target was the distribution of the drugs among young people through drug traffickers," Abdel Haqim Giniwa, another anti-narcotics official, told a news conference, Al Jazeera reported. "Thanks to all the hard work of the security forces, this quantity of the drug was intercepted. It would have caused social and economic disorder."
| March 4, 2011; 12:20 PM ET
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