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TD892
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« on: February 25, 2011, 07:13:48 pm »

The BBC's Jeremy Bowen reporting from Tripoli says the uprising is spreading

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged the global body's Security Council to take "decisive action" over the Libya crisis.

He said violations of human rights had been carried out by Muammar Gaddafi's regime, and more than 1,000 had died.

Speaking at a meeting of the Security Council in New York, Mr Ban warned of a growing refugee and food crisis.

In Libya, reports say anti-government protesters in the capital Tripoli came under heavy gunfire on Friday.

Witnesses reported deaths and injuries as militiamen and government troops confronted protesters as they emerged from mosques following Friday prayers and started demonstrating in several areas of the city.

At the same time, Libyan state TV showed Colonel Gaddafi speaking from the Tripoli's old city ramparts, urging the crowd to arm themselves and defend the nation and its oil against the anti-Gaddafi elements who have taken control of large parts of the country.

"We shall destroy any aggression with popular will," he said. "With the armed people, when necessary we will open the weapons depots. So that all the Libyan people, all the Libyan tribes can be armed. Libya will become a red flame, a burning coal."

Later, at a hastily organised news conference at the UN in New York, Libyan deputy ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi described Col Gaddafi, who has been in power for 42 years, as a "madman". He warned that thousands would die in Tripoli because the Libyan leader would never flee and would fight to the end.
Continue reading the main story
At the scene
image of Jeremy Bowen Jeremy Bowen BBC Middle East editor, Tripoli

Outside the airport there's a sad sight. Several thousand people queuing in the darkness and rain, trying to get flights out. Some people told me they were from Syria, others appear to be from the Indian sub-continent, the kind of migrant workers upon whom this economy has been depending.

I was given a briefing by a man who said he was an engineer who has come back from Italy. The fact that he spoke to us suggests he has been given permission to do so, and he was essentially presenting the regime's position as a point of stability in a sea of chaos. The only place the "system" is operational is in the capital, he said.

There's a fair amount of traffic on the streets. There were some reports of shooting near the airport but I saw no signs of that. In some side streets I saw some road blocks, but they didn't look like military people.

Much of the east of the country is in the hands of anti-Gaddafi protesters and units of the Libyan military that have crossed over to them.

Mr Ban said 22,000 people had fled Libya via Tunisia, and a further 15,000 via Egypt.

"Much larger numbers are trapped and unable to leave," he added. "There are widespread reports of refugees being harassed and threatened with guns and knives."

He said it was important for neighbouring countries, including those in Europe, to keep their borders open to those fleeing the violence.

Mr Ban also said that there was a food crisis inside Libya that the UN World Food Programme (WFP) expected to worsen. The WFP says Libya's food supply chain is at risk of collapse because imports have not been getting into the country and food distribution is hampered by violence.

Diplomats at the UN Security Council say Britain and France have drawn up a draft resolution with a package of measures aimed at isolating Libya's political and military leaders. Elements could include targeted sanctions, an arms embargo, and a proposed referral of the situation in Libya to the International Criminal Court.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2011, 07:19:00 pm by TD892 » Report Spam   Report to moderator   Logged


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