Friday, February 18, 2011

2011 Libyan protests

2011 Libyan protests
Location Libya
Date15 February 2011 – ongoing
CharacteristicsDemonstrations, riots.
Death(s)47, including 41 protesters, 2 policemen, 5 escaped prisoners

The 2011 Libyan protests are part of the 2010–2011 Arab world protests. First street protests started on Feb. 15, 2011. More than a dozen demonstrators have been killed in clashes with pro-government groups and secret policemen.


Muammar al-Gaddafi has ruled Libya as "Leader and Guide of the Revolution" since overthrowing the monarchy in 1969. Following the retirement of Fidel Castro in 2008 and the death of Omar Bongo in 2009, Gaddafi is the longest serving head of state who is not royalty.

the Monarch Flag of Libya is being used widely throughout the Protests, as an opposition Flag
From 13–16 January, upset at delays and political corruption, protesters in Darnah, Benghazi, Bani Walid and other cities in Libya broke into and occupied housing that the government was building. By 27 January the government had responded to the unrest with a $24 billion investment fund to provide housing and development. In late January, Jamal al-Hajji, a writer, political commentator and accountant, "called on the internet for demonstrations to be held in support of greater freedoms in Libya" inspired by the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings. He was arrested on 1 February by plain-clothes police officers and charged on 3 February with injuring someone with his car. Amnesty International claimed that as al-Hajji had previously been imprisoned for his non-violent political opinions, the real reason for the present arrest appeared to be his call for demonstrations.


15 February: "The First Spark"

As always, the east area of the country against the rulers of the country especially the city of Benghazi. Start from King Idris leading to First of September Great Revolution. On February 15, and what began as minor protests of about 200 people in front of police headquarter from 7 in the evening, after the arrest of the Libyan human rights activist: Fethi Tarbel, who is known for his work with families of the victims of the 1996 massacre at the notorious Abu Salim Prison where more than a 1,000 prisoners are believed to have been executed.
In the late hours of the day, between 500 and 600 protesters protested in Benghazi. The protesters chanted slogans in front of the police headquarters. The protest was broken up violently by police. The clashes with the police caused 40 injuries.
In Al Bayda and Az Zintan, hundreds of protestors in each town called for "the end of the regime" and set fire to police and security buildings. In Az Zintan, the protestors set up tents in the town centre.

16 February
About half of the population of Libya are teenagers or younger
Benghazi: Hundreds gathered at Maydan al-Shajara in Benghazi, and authorities tried to disperse protesters with water cannons. The police, with help from some criminals clashed with the protesters before escaped in mini buses, and the protesters closed Jamal Abdel Naser street. The protesters notice that the police officers are not from Benghazi from their accent.
Al Bayda: Protesters clashed with police leading to 6 deaths and 3 injuries.
Al-Quba: More than 400 protesters from different ages set fire in police station.
Also other cities were in protests include Darnah and Az Zintan, but with no injuries reported.
In Albert Square in Manchester more than 100 protests supporting the protesters in Libyans cities asking the Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi to step down.

17 February: "Day of Rage"
A "Day of Rage" in Libya and by Libyans in exile was planned for 17 February. The National Conference for the Libyan Opposition stated that "all" groups opposed to Muammar al-Gaddafi in Libya and in exile planned protests against Gaddafi on 17 February, in memory of demonstrations in Benghazi on 17 February 2006 that were initially against the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons and became protests against al-Gaddafi. The plans to protests were inspired by the 2010–2011 Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings. In early February, Gaddafi met with "Libyan political activists, journalists, and media figures" and "warned" them that they would be "held responsible" if they participated "in any way in disturbing the peace or creating chaos in Libya".
Protests on the Day of Rage took place in four cities in Libya. In Benghazi, a government authority released 30 prisoners from jail, armed them and paid them in order to fight against protestors. Several demonstrators were killed by snipers and gunfire from helicopters. The London Evening Standard estimate that 14 were killed. Al Jazeera English estimates that at least 14 were killed since the previous day (16 February).
In Ajdabiya at least 10 have been killed by police.
In Benghazi, Al Jazeera English reported an eyewitness who saw six unarmed protesters shot dead by police"; BBC reports "at least 15 people" were killed in clashes with security forces.
In Al Bayda, Libya al-Youm reported 4 people shot dead by snipers, a Libyan human rights group reported 13 killed, another estimate was that 23 people were killed.
In Darnah at least 6 have been killed by police.
In Tripoli protests in many places across the city.
In Zentan a number of government buildings were torched, and set fire to the police station

18 February
According to the BBC News Service "violent confrontations" between demonstrators and security forces are reported to have spread to five Libyan cities "so far, but not yet to the capital Tripoli, "in any large numbers."
Benghazi: Thousands of anti-government protester gathered in front of the Benghazi courthouse. According to the BBC, a "doctor at Benghazi's Jalla hospital" told them that he had "seen 15 bodies - all dead from gunshot wounds" - by the time he left the hospital "in the early hours of Friday."Police and army largely withdrew from the city after being overwhelmed by protesters. Protesters took control of the local radio station.
Al Bayda: The local police force and riot control joins the side of the protesters.

Arrests and other repression

The novelist Idris Al-Mesmari was arrested hours after giving an interview with Al Jazeera about the police reaction to protests in Benghazi on 15 February.


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