As it happened: Mid-East and North Africa protests

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on state TV (21 Feb 2011)

Unrest is continuing in cities across the Middle East and North Africa following uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

Below is the BBC's account of events on 21 February 2011, as they unfolded throughout the day (first entry at the bottom).

  • Serious anti-government protests in the capital Tripoli and elsewhere are putting Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's regime under mounting pressure.
  • Several senior officials and diplomats - including the justice minister - have reportedly defected after security forces fired on protesters.
  • In a nationwide TV broadcast on Sunday, one of Col Gaddafi's sons, Saif al-Islam, admitted two eastern cities had been taken over by anti-government demonstrators.
  • The BBC's Jon Leyne in neighbouring Egypt says Col Gaddafi has now lost the support of almost every section of society.
  • Live page reporters: Sarah Bell, Adam Blenford, Alexandra Fouché and Michael Hirst
  • All times in GMT.

0100 We're going to wrap up our live coverage from the Middle East and North Africa for tonight. Thanks for being with us throughout another remarkable day. Check back on Tuesday for the latest from the BBC as it happens.

0058And as the world waitied for a speech by Col Gaddafi himself, the Libyan leader materialised only for the briefest of appearances: a few sentences, uttered from inside a car, beneath an umbrella, while wearing a woolly hat. It was a surreal end to a deadly serious day.

0056 Amid clear indications of splits within Col Gaddafi's regime some senior diplomats began to walk away from their government. Libyan officials at the UN renounced their leader, as did the country's most senior representative in the US, Ali Aujali.

0054 In Libya, the day after a dramatic speech by Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the country's leader, protests continued in the capital, Tripoli. There were reports of more violence in the east, with aircraft said to have attacked civilians, and yet the second city, Benghazi, was said to be largely in the hands of demonstrators.

0050 So how to sum up another dramatic day across a region in flux? Protesters across the Middle East and Arab world have continued their demonstrations: in Yemen, in Bahrain and in Morocco people took to the streets to demand more freedoms. For now the rulers of those countries are holding firm, although all face subtly different and serious challenges to their authority.

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0027Another comment has come in, from Ameen who works in Benghazi: "I work in Libya, based in Benghazi. The Libyan people do not deserve this type of life. They deserve better. I have many friends and they are suffering. Such an oil rich country, the people should live comfortably and have freedom of expression, movement, good family life."

0041 Col Gaddafi's mention of Green Square was a reference to reports on state TV that pro-government demonstrations were taking place in central Tripoli on Mondya night.

0033 Full text of Col Gaddafi's 20-second speech, according to BBC Monitoring: "I am satisfied, because I was speaking in front of the youth in the Green Square tonight, but the rain came praise to God it bears well. I want to clarify for them that I am in Tripoli not in Venezuela. Do not believe these channels they are dogs. Goodbye."

0031We've got the full text of Col Gaddafi's address now. There was little more to it than originally reported.

Instant reaction online to Col Gaddafi's speech has been slightly incredulous. One key Twitter account, Libyan Youth Movement , tweets: "does this mean thats it? there isn't a full speech? was this the 'address' that we waited for? #Libya #Feb17"

0023 The imminent threat from Libya should be discussed at an immediate meeting of the UN Security Council in New York, Lord Owen tells the BBC. Military action is the only thing Col Gaddafi and his sons are going to listen to, he says.

0022 Former British Foreign Secretary Lord Owen tells the BBC Col Gaddafi is "unbalanced" and that the situation in Libya now represents a direct threat to world peace.

0020 A reminder of words from earlier in the day from the senior US diplomat in the US, Ali Aujali. He told the BBC he was leaving Col Gaddafi's government after 40 years. "I can't really end my career representing a government which is killing its own people in a very savage way."

0012 Reports of poor weather in Tripoli tonight do seem to back up Col Gaddafi's statement that he is still in the Libyan capital.

0011Reuters quotes Col Gaddafi: "I am in Tripoli and not in Venezuela."

0008 Almost as soon as Col Gaddafi appeared on the screen he disappeared. State TV now showing partiotic images of marching soldiers and playing Arabic music.

0007Interview with Col Gaddafi now running on Libyan TV.

0006The BBC's security correspondent Frank Gardner tweets a note of realism over what Col Gaddafi might say tonight: "Gaddafi promised us journos many fresh revelations in his v long speech in Tripoli back in 2001 but we left utterly bemused."

2359 Quick Egypt interlude: The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office has changed its travel advice to Cairo, Alexandria and Suez in the light of "increasingly calm" event of the past week.

2356 The upcoming speech by Col Gaddafi is now being trailed as an interview, not a speech.

2350 With Libya being two hours ahead of GMT it's now nearing 0200 in Tripoli. Whenever the leader speaks, it's already a late night for those watching.

2348 While the ballet continues on state TV, screen captions tell the audience that Col Gaddafi will speak soon - and will address "malicious rumours" broadcast against him.

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2340 Because internet access is restricted in Libya we;ve had fewer comments than normal from inside the country. However, Mohamed from Tripoli in Libya has sent this: "President Clinton said that the one thing he regretted during his presidency was that he didn't intervene in Rwanda. Will President Obama regret not intervening in Libya... You can stop this so please don't stand and watch us fade away."

2336 The image of Col Gaddafi on Libyan TV appeared to show him getting out of a car while holding an umbrella. Nothing more was visible and the picture quickly disappeared.

2333 A brief image of Col Gaddafi apppears on Libyan state TV, but the channel quickly cuts back to the ballet.

2320 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke to Col Gaddafi earlier today. In a statement to the BBC, his office now says Mr Ban is "outraged" at reports of aircraft firing on civilians in Libya. Calling for an immediate end to the violence, the statement adds: "Such attacks against civilians, if confirmed, would constitute a serious violation of international humanitarian law and would be condemned by the secretary-general in the strongest terms."

2315 AliTweel in Tripoli, Libya tweets: "More than 12 hours of non-stop tweeting. Now it's 12:45am light rain, quiet and no gun shooting for the past 45 minutes, timed!"

2308 We're monitoring Libyan state TV here for any sign of Col Gaddafi. Current broadcast - a full costume musical/ballet performance.

2300 A group of Libyan army officers issue a statement urging fellow soldiers to "join the people" and help to remove Col Gaddafi, Al Jazeera reports.

2255 Elsewhere in Tripoli, reports are coming via Twitter in of an incident at the Egyptian embassy. Ahmad Daghlas tweets: "#Egypt embassy in #Libya has been attacked by a bombed car and the staff is trapped!." Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas also says he has credible reports.

2250 Meanwhile Quryna, a newspaper linked to Saif al-Gaddafi, has reported the claims and counter-claims of eyewitnesses - some who vouched for the bombings and others who denied they took place.

2248 The issue of whether or not Libyan planes have bombed civilians appears to be consuming the debate on Arabic TV. Libya's deputy foreign minister has given an interview to al-Jazeera's Arabic language service, again denying that Libyan planes have bombed civilian areas.

2237 More suggestions that a speech from Col Gaddafi is on the way - Libya's foreign ministry says the leader will speak soon.

2232News from outside Libya: In Bahrain, the king has ordered the release of some Shia held prisoner, and decreed that others should have their trials cancelled.

2227 In confirming that arms depots have been hit, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi also denied that warplanes have targeted civilian areas - one of the key allegations of anti-Gaddafi protesters.

2224Libyan state TV quotes Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who spoke on national TV last night, as saying the country's air force has launched air strikes on arms depots around urban areas.

2221 That statement from Hillary Clinton is the strongest yet from senior US officials. President Obama spoke out late last week but events in Libya have taken a bloody turn since then, and there was nothing from senior administration officials over the weekend.

2212 More from Hillary Clinton: "The government of Libya has a responsibility to respect the universal rights of the people, including the right to free expression and assembly. Now is the time to stop this unacceptable bloodshed. We are working urgently with friends and partners around the world to convey this message to the Libyan government."

2211 From Washington, news of a statement by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: "The world is watching the situation in Libya with alarm. We join the international community in strongly condemning the violence in Libya. Our thoughts and prayers are with those whose lives have been lost, and with their loved ones."

2206Also today, in a dramatic move, the Libyan delegation condemned what it said was genocide carried out by Col Gaddafi, and called for him to step down as the country's ruler.

2204To recap today's events in Libya: Protests have continued, a key government building has been burnt down, and two fighter pilots have defected in Malta after apparently being ordered to bomb civilians. The situation in the country is now said to be extremely tense. Pro-Gaddafi supporters have also been out on the streets and state TV has been broadcasting patriotic bulletins.

2149A bit more information on the reports of airspace closed over Tripoli. The UK Foreign Office says it knew airspace between Tripoli and Benghazi had been closed since yesterday, but is not aware of any additional closure over Tripoli that would affect UK citizens trying to leave the country.

2141Al-Arabiya is reporting that Col Gaddafi is to make an "imminent" speech, according to Reuters. No more details as yet.

2140 The tweet in our previous entry backs up the latest eyewitness reports we've received from Tripoli. "Largely quiet" is the verdict, with many shops closed throughout the day. But there are reports of stand-off with the army in several suburbs. And - as we reported earlier - a particularly tense atmosphere in Fashloom, a poor area of the city.

2135 Zubin Gulati in Tripoli, Libya tweets: "Peaceful and quiet in downtown #Tripoli #Libya tonight. Overcast skies. Price of Oil and bread already up.

2131Reuters now has more on the reports of Libyan troops leaving the border with Egypt: "Members of the Libyan border guard withdrew from [the Libyan side of the border] and it is currently in the control of people's committees," the Egyptian army said. It's not clear whether the groups now in charge of border are loyal to Col Gaddafi or not.

2120AFP is now reporting Austrian defence ministry officials as saying airspace over Tripoli is closed - and will remain so "until further notice".

2114More on the suggest that Col Gaddafi had fled to Caracas: Venezuela's Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro has denied the reports, saying the Libyan leader remains in Tripoli and is "dealing with the situation".

2111In an eye-catching public statement, influential Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi told the al-Jazeera TV network that any Libyan soldier who has the oppotunity should shoot and kill Col Gaddafi.

2108 Libya's army is reported to have withdrawn from areas by the Egyptian border, Reuters reports. Egypt's army is said to have reported the movement via its Facebook page.

2105However, in Fashloom, a poorer area of Tripoli, the situation is reported to be much worse, our information says.

2101More unconfirmed reports from eyewitnesses in Tripoli: the streets of middle-class residential areas are reported to be quiet, punctuated only by the sounds of cars going round blaring pro-Gaddafi slogans.

2055New information from Tripoli: Eyewitnesses have told the BBC that 60 people are estimated to have died in the city since yesterday.

2047 One of the most active anti-Gaddafi tweeters, Libyan Dude , tweets: "Ok, more important than ever to say this I guess: We don't want foreign (and western) intervention, only condemnation and humanit. aid".

2040It's well into the hours of darkness now in Libya, and the situation is reported to be extemely tense. From Tripoli, one eyewitness told the BBC that people there are expecting a major event tonight - "a final battle" were the words used.

2020 UK comedian Eddie Izzard tweets: "Just sent this Direct Message @SaifGaddafi Please stop the military killing your people. History is watching and you can stop it. Thank you."

2014 Beleaguered Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has weighed in with his thoughts on events in Libya, calling attacks on protesters "unacceptable". The EU should step in to prevent the situation from escalating into a civil war, he adds.

2008 Thanks for following the latest developments in Libya and across the Middle East with the BBC. The situation is moving fast and we'll be bringing you live updates from the ground as and when we get them. We'd welcome your thoughts, so do get in touch by text, email or tweet.

2004 Doha News tweets: "Anti-Gaddafi rally planned in front of Libyan embassy in Doha tomm, 8a (via @ceoDanya) (near the Exhibition Center)"

2001 Ominous news from our colleagues over at BBC Monitoring: "'Libyan military source confirms orders were issued for the aerial bombardment of Benghazi within two hours,'" reported Al-Arabiya TV in an urgent screen caption at 1947 GMT."

1958 Al-Jazeera's Evan Hill tweets: "Qatar's foreign minister has called Arab League chief Amr Moussa to call for an emergency meeting regarding #Libya."

1949 Italy says it will begin to airlift Italian nationals who want to leave Libya out of the country on Tuesday, laying on special flights in conjunction with national carrier Alitalia, AFP reports.

1944 The BBC's Neil Henderson has been at today's protests outside Libya's embassy in London, where a number of embassy staff have joined the demonstrators, waving a Libyan flag that pre-dates Col Gaddafi's rule.

1940 Eyewitnesseses are reporting what they call a "massacre" in the Fashloum and Tajoura districts of the Libyan capital Tripoli, AFP reports.

1933 More details on the call by Libya's diplomats at the United Nations for international intervention to end the crisis. The deputy ambassador, Ibrahim Omar Al Dabashi, told BBC World that Col Gaddafi's government was carrying out a genocide. "It is a real genocide whether it is in the eastern cities of Libya or whether what is going now in Tripoli," he said. "The information that we are receiving from the people in Tripoli is the regime is killing whoever goes out to the streets... He has his mercenaries everywhere in the streets and whenever any demonstrator appears they just kill them. At least they shoot them, whether they kill them or not, but they are shooting them."

1928 This just in from Tunisia, which has formally asked Saudi Arabia to extradite Leila Trabelsi, the wife of ousted strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, TAP news agency reports, citing a foreign ministry official.

1919 Further west, we're receiving comments from Morocco's King Mohammed, who says he will not cede to "demagoguery" after recent protests for constitutional reform in Rabat. The country is building up effective democracy, he adds, which should go hand-in-hand with sustainable human development, Reuters reports.

1915 Meanwhile, across the border, Egypt's general prosecutor has referred former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly and former Tourism Minister Zoheir Garranah to Cairo's criminal court, the country's Mena agency reports.

1909 Libyan state TV is still running pictures of crowds demonstrating in support of Col Gaddafi on Tripoli's Green Square. The channel's ticker caption reads: "People of Libya, we must all band together in order to stop in its tracks the plot to seed sedition, division, strife and sabotage in our beloved country."

1906 The BBC's Mishal Husain tweets: "Have been consumed all day by correspondent Jon Leyne's thought: it's 'do or die' for the protestors in Libya."

1859 The BBC has learnt that Col Gaddafi was in Libya when he had his phone conversation with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon earlier.

1853 More info on those two Libyan jets that landed in Malta: Maltese government officials say their two pilots defected having been ordered to bomb protesters. One of them has requested political asylum, Reuters reports.

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1849 What do you make of the current crisis? Are the responses you've seen from the international community enough, or should world leaders be doing more to bring a peaceful resolution to the unrest in Libya? And what about Colonel Gaddafi? Should he - can he - remain in power after the recent blood-letting? Let us know your thoughts by email, text or tweet: We'll publish what we can.

1846 In a statement, the Nato chief says: "The people of Libya, like many others in the wider Middle East, have expressed a strong desire for democratic change. Their legitimate aspirations must be addressed. Freedom of expression and assembly are fundamental rights which cannot be denied... In the long run, no society can ignore the will of the people, because the desire for freedom resides in every human being."

1845 Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says he is shocked by the "indiscriminate use of violence" against peaceful protesters. Calling on the authorities to "stop the repression of unarmed civilians", he says he "deplores the loss of life".

1843 Further to Mr Dabashi's comments, Libya's team at the UN has called on the bloc to impose a no-fly zone over Tripoli, following reports that warplanes were being used against protesters there.

1841 Libya's deputy ambassador at the UN, Ibrahim Omar Al Dabashi, tells BBC World the Libyan leader will not be able to hold onto power for much longer. "I think it is the end of Col Gaddafi, it is a matter of days, whether he steps down or the Libyan people will get rid of him anyway," he says. He believes Col Gaddafi should be put on trial: "Certainly the best scenario is to have him before the court, to prosecute him and to know from him everything about the crimes he committed before, whether it is the genocide of the prison of Abu Saleem or the genocide he is committing now or the disappearance of certain important personalities... and all the other crimes he has committed during the 42 years in power."

1839 This just in from BBC Monitoring, citing the online edition of opposition newspaper Libya al-Yawm: "Mercenaries were reportedly shooting at crowds in Tripoli during an intense air assault. Intense aerial bombing in Tripoli... Panic and fear are overcoming the situation."

1836 French President Nicolas Sarkozy becomes the latest world leader to wade in with condemnation of the "unacceptable use of of force" in Libya, according to a statement from the Elysee Palace.

1833 Speaking on Libyan TV, Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khalid Kayem has denied reports Col Gadaffi has fled to Venezuela, Reuters reports.

1829 The White House says it is analysing Sunday's speech by Col Gadaffi's son, Saif al-Islam, to determine whether it offers possibilities for democratic changes in Libya. A US official says the administration is seeking clarification from senior Libyan officials about their intentions, AP reports. President Barack Obama was briefed by National Security Adviser Tom Donilon on Sunday night and is being kept abreast of events, the official said, adding that the US administration is considering "all appropriate actions".

1823 From our colleagues at BBC Monitoring: At 1800 GMT, Libyan TV showed a "live" broadcast of Libyans gathered in Tripoli's Green Square. The numbers have clearly swelled from when it first showed them an hour earlier, but vacant spaces could still be seen among the protesters. A pundit commenting on the latest events called on all citizens to band together and dispel "all the rumours" broadcast by foreign media.

1820 Meanwhile, there have been further anti-government protests in Yemen, with Amnesty International tweeting: "At least 10 dead, dozens injured since violence broke out in #Yemen."

1817 The BBC has received reports of ongoing fighting west of Tripoli between regular soldiers and forces loyal to the regime.

1815 Earlier, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he had seen information suggesting Col Gaddafi was on his way to Venezuela - but the authorities there have denied any such thing. In Libya, state television said the security forces were storming what it called "dens of terror and sabotage" after overnight demonstrations.

1813 With events moving very fast in Libya, here's a quick summary: Amid mounting violence across the country, there are unconfirmed reports that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has left the capital, Tripoli. His exact whereabouts are unknown but United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said he had spoken to him to express deep concern at the escalating violence.

1808 As global protests against the Libyan regime pick up pace, nine members the Libyan embassy staff in London have left the building and joined demonstrators outside, a BBC producer at the scene reports.

1806 From our colleagues at BBC Arabic: The Libyan army is advising citizens to steer clear of "engagement zones". A strapline currently running on Libyan television reads: "The Libyan Armed Forces are calling on brother citizens to stay clear of engagement zones with outlawed sabotage groups, out of concern for the safety of our citizens. May God be on our side."

1802 EU foreign ministers have ending a meeting in Brussels with a strong condemnation of the Libyan government's violent repression of protesters. Ministers also expressed concern about a threat from Libya to end all cooperation in the fight against illegal immigration, says the BBC's Chris Morris in Brussels.

1758 Holly Pattenden, head of oil and gas analysis at Business Monitor International, she says investors are worried about the protests spreading. "It's certainly worrying investors an awful lot and traders," she told the BBC. "The worry is that export facilities could be affected. Both Libya and Algeria have exported about a million barrels a day each so this could have a big effect on the supply side of the oil market and that's why traders are adding this big risk premium."

1754 Al-Jazeera is quoting Tripoli residents as saying Libyan warplanes are bombing locations in the capital. It's important to note that while we have reliable reports of fires in Tripoli, as well as aircraft overhead, it is not possible to confirm such reports at this stage.

1746 Arab-American Nasr Anaizi tweets: "Civilians marching from #Mesrata toward #Tripoli are being fired upon from Apache helicopters. Real massacres are taking place in #Libya."

1742 All Italian air bases have been placed on maximum alert, the Italian news agency Ansa reports. The alert comes after two Libyan fighter jets apparently fleeing unrest in Libya landed in nearby Malta.

1740 Nusrati adds: "My uncle is a doctor in a hospital in Tripoli and he says many bodies were carried in to the hospital last night and today. People are taking it in turns to defend their streets. Half go out protesting, and the other half stay behind to protect their properties."

1737Libyan-born Nusrati (not his real name), who has recently moved from the UK back to the Middle East, has been receiving information about the escalating situation in the country: "There has been live fire outside my uncle's apartment in Tripoli. Everyone was out marching in Green Square. There were trucks handing out meat and fish and other luxury goods to anyone who is a pro-Gadaffi supporter. People were even being promised university places," he told the BBC.

1728 An eyewitness in Tripoli has told the BBC the suburbs of Fashloom and Zawia al-Dahmani have been cordoned off by security. These suburbs are about a 10-minute drive from the city centre. He saw protesters on the streets - and flames and smoke rising from the area. Aircraft can be heard flying overhead in the city.

1725 Zubin Gulati in Tripoli, Libya, tweets: "Cars honking Police sirens Small weapons fire in Omar Mukhtar Street in #Tripoli #Libya"

1721The US Department of State has issued a new travel warning for Libya. It advises citizens to defer all travel to Libya, while those in Libya should "minimise overall travel in-country, exercise extreme caution when travelling, and limit all travel after dark". It says US citizens not leaving Libya should make preparations to seek shelter where they are.

1719 Col Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, has ordered the formation of an investigation committee, headed by a Libyan judge with the participation of Libyan and foreign rights groups, to investigate the circumstances of the deaths in the recent protests, Libyan TV has said.

1716 Enough Gaddafi tweets: "Mercenaries are being released in neighborhoods, Suq Jumaa, and shooting at any group of people gathered #libya #feb17."

1711 On the subject of Col Gaddafi's whereabouts, the BBC's Chloe Arnold in Algiers says a reliable reporter who went to his home in Tripoli on Monday said only a few security guards were at the gates and that there appeared to be no-one inside.

1704The violence in Libya "absolutely must stop", French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie has told AFP during a visit to Brazil. She added France was not organising the repatriation of its citizens from Libya, saying "we are not seeing any aggression towards French people or Westerners generally". But she told all French citizens in Libya "to display the utmost caution", calling the situation in the country "extremely worrying".

1657 The entire Libyan delegation to the United Nations has called for international action over events in Libya. The deputy ambassador called for protection for citizens from what he called the genocide being carried out by the Libyan government. He also called for a no-fly zone over the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

1655 UN chief Ban Ki-moon has told Col Gaddafi that violence in Libya "must stop immediately" and called for a broad-based dialogue, a UN spokesman has said.

1653 Tarek Siala in Tripoli, Libya, tweets: "#Internet Connection low speed and not stable, maybe cutting in any time in #Tripoli #Libya."

1651 The president of the Council of Europe, Ahmet Davutoglu, has said Tunisia can provide a positive model for other countries seeking reform. Mr Davutoglu was in Tunis for talks with Tunisian PM Mohamed Ghannouchi. "The success of Tunisia is very important, not only for the great nation of Tunisia, but for all the region and for the international community."

1648 Military aircraft are firing at protesters in Tripoli, al-Jazeera international TV reports.

1647 EU foreign policy chief Baroness Ashton, speaking in Brussels, has urged Libya to engage in peaceful dialogue: "We are deeply concerned about the level of violence in Libya, and if you look at the conclusions we drew today in our discussions, we are very clear about the need to have this dialogue for the future and to see peaceful protest being allowed. I think that's what the European Union believes and that's what we have collectively said and I hope the Libyan authorities will listen to that and move towards a peaceful dialogue."

1643 French oil firm Total is evacuating "most of its expatriate staff and their families", AFP reports.

1636 A senior source in Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's government denies Libya's Col Gaddafi is coming to Venezuela, Reuters further reports.

1633 Libyan security forces are targeting "dens of terrorists" and have urged Libyan citizens to co-operate with the operation to restore security in the country, Libyan state TV has reported.

1631 Some reaction to the cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix (1553 entry). F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone says he is very disappointed, but that it was the only thing they could do. He says the race is postponed at this point, but he does not know when it will be staged. "It is sad that Bahrain has had to withdraw from the race, we wish the whole nation well as they begin to heal their country."

1628 Journalist in Istanbul, Turkey, Isin Elicin, tweets: "A retired judge in Benghazi, said: We have buried today 11 bodies of soldiers who refused to fire on civilians."

1626 UK Foreign Minister William Hague says he has seen some information suggesting Libya's Col Gaddafi is on his way to Venezuela, Reuters reports.

1623In London, oil experts are meeting to discuss the crisis as part of International Petroleum Week. Chris Skrebowski, from Peak Oil Consulting, doesn't think production will be affected in the short term, but warns of worries about supplies long term. "Obviously if it goes on, then it does start to have an impact. But what the market really fears is any suggestion of production being cut back, facilities being occupied."

1620UK PM David Cameron says Egypt must do more to show people they can be confident it has a more open, democratic future. He told Sky News:"That will be good for people in Egypt, but good for everyone in this region as well."

1618In Morocco, the BBC's Duncan Crawford says all is calm in Tangiers after Sunday's protests: "Workers have been out trying to sweep the streets clean. Near the port, there are still places littered with glass. Hotel windows and shop fronts have been smashed in. Two German tourists told me they were so scared they have hardly left their hotel rooms."

1615 More on the unexpected landing of fighter jets in Malta (1556): Shortly before the jets landed, two helicopters touched down at the airport. The persons who were on board are being held for further investigation, reports.

1608 AliTweel in Tripoli, Libya, tweets: "I hear gunfire, not heavy, might be 3-4 km away from my house in Tripoli."

1606The UK Foreign Office (FCO) has summoned the Libyan ambassador to underline the government's "grave concerns" over the violence in his country. Simon Fraser, permanent under-secretary at the FCO, told Omar R Jelban that Tripoli must immediately halt all attacks against protesters and restrain the army and security forces. Mr Fraser also reminded the Libyan government of its responsibility to safeguard foreign nationals and diplomatic personnel in the country.

1604 Zubin Gulati in Tripoli, Libya, tweets: "ALL Cellphone networks DOWN in #Tripoli #Libya where I am. Some landlines still working COM STATUS: RSTRD"

1556 Two Libyan fighter jets have landed unexpectedly in Malta, witnesses say. The Mirage jets were seen landing at Malta's international airport on Monday afternoon. The Maltese foreign ministry said it was trying to establish why the planes had landed.

1553 It is now official: The Bahrain Grand Prix in view of the events there, its organisers have said in a statement. The Formula One season-opening race was due to be held on 13 March.

1546 More from US Undersecretary of State William Burns in Cairo, who said Egypt faced "a moment of extraordinary promise": "It's a moment when Egypt has just begun its story of transition to democracy. Along the way, we will continue to encourage concrete steps to build confidence to sustain the momentum of the transition."

1543 Student leaders at the London School of Economics say actions by the institution to cut ties with Libya don't go far enough (1216 entry). The General Secretary of the LSE students' union, Charlotte Gerada, told the BBC "the school should not be accepting money from people within regimes which clearly do not fit with the ethos of the LSE".

1533 Leading ratings agency Fitch downgrades Libya's credit rating from BBB+ to BBB to reflect the "eruption of political risk" in the country, and warns another downgrade may be in the offing.

1530 Libya's army chief, Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabir, is reported to have been put under house arrest after siding with the protesters, according to a former Libyan official, reports the Libya al-Yawm website.

1525Tim Niblock, an expert on Libya at Exeter University, says it is fairly clear that Col Gaddafi has lost control over the main part of the military in eastern Libya: "There are brigades under two of his sons who are still apparently active a bit, but those are probably marginal by now," he tells the BBC World Service's Newshour programme. "Two key figures are supporting the rebellion and have done, especially one of them, from a very early stage. They feel that the regime has corrupted itself."

1519In Cairo, senior US diplomat William Burns, who arrived earlier on Monday, has called for "careful preparations" for Egypt's elections, the further release of detainees and lifting of emergency law.

1511 More ripple effect from the unrest in Libya: Milan's stock exchange has plunged more than 3% in afternoon trading, dragged down by Italian companies with Libyan capital or with major investments in the country.

1507 Egypt says it would like EU states to cancel its debts to them, but has not made a formal request, the EU's delegation in Cairo has said, citing the Egyptian finance minister, AFP reports.

1457British construction worker Mike Bailey, who has just flown back to London from Tripoli, has told the BBC there was a "very palpable air" that trouble was coming and he was woken up during the night by gunfire. He has an apartment about half a mile from Green Square in the Libyan capital. When he got to work on Sunday, he was told it would be best to leave the country. "We heard very heavy gunfire, small arms and heavy calibre stuff about 0330 this morning. It lasted for round about an hour. We then left the apartment about 0530 local time, to go to the airport. Everywhere was dead quiet. The roads were quiet. We saw evidence of barricades and fires and pictures of the boss being ripped down, but no actual people on the street after that time in the morning."

1450 There's a possibility the Bahrain Grand Prix may be called off due to the protests, amid reports that all 12 Formula One teams have decided not to travel to the country for testing on 3 March. There is speculation the race could be relocated to the UK.

1447 Sad news from Bahrain, with the confirmation of the death of 32-year-old Abdul Redha Mohammed Hassan. He was shot in the head by security forces while trying to march to Manama's Pearl Square on Friday, and died in hospital on Monday, his family said. At least eight people have been killed and hundreds injured in the clashes since the unrest reached the Gulf state last week.

1444 In the Middle East, many media reports have criticised Libyan leader Col Gaddafi and his son, Saif al-Islam, for their reaction to the protests. Several regional newspapers predict the revolt could prove successful in the wake of those elsewhere in the Arab world. One paper describes Col Gaddafi's period in power as "shameful".

1437 A number of Libya's senior government officials and diplomats have now quit. Libya's envoy to the Arab League, Abdel Moneim al-Honi, announced earlier he was "joining the revolution" and its ambassador to India, Ali al-Essawi, told the BBC he was resigning in protest against his government's violent crackdown on demonstrators.

1428 Libyan Justice Minister Mustafa Mohamed Abud al-Jeleil has resigned over the "excessive use of violence" against protesters, the privately-owned Quryna newspaper reports.

1426 In neighbouring Egypt, the prosecutor general has ordered a freeze on assets belonging to former President Hosni Mubarak, his wife and his son, al-Arabiya TV station is reporting.

1422 Moscow has joined its voice to the international calls for an end to violence in Libya. In a statement, the Russian foreign ministry urges all sides to start a "national dialogue".

1418 The focus is very much on the capital, where it is widely assumed the future of Col Gaddafi's leadership will be decided, says BBC World Affairs correspondent Mike Wooldridge. Tripoli is now reported to be a city that is virtually shut down, while the second biggest city, Benghazi, is described by some as effectively under the control of the protesters.

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1410 Otman, from Tripoli writes: "We, the Libyan people, are in the deep end. We either sink or swim; we either topple the regime or face being massacred. We have no choice... we have to keep moving forward, there is no going back."

1409 Witnesses in Sirte - Col Gaddafi's birthplace - deny a report by a human rights group that protesters have taken control of the northern city seen by many as a stronghold of the Libyan leader, AFP reports.

1407 The intensifying strife is having serious repercussions in the business world, with the price of oil jumping in early Monday trading to its highest level since the 2008 financial crisis.

1359 We'll be bringing you the latest developments - including news from the ground, analysis from our correspondents and your reaction to events - as we get them. Do send us your thoughts by email, text or twitter. We'll publish what we can.

1355 The protests have spread around the world. In the UK, around 50 protesters are currently gathered a short distance from the BBC Radio Merseyside building in Liverpool, demanding Col Gaddafi step down. They are waving flags and chanting: "Libya must be free, tell the BBC," and "Enough is enough - 42 years". A small number of police officers are standing nearby.

1352 Further west in Morocco, meanwhile, the government says five burned bodies have been found in a bank following demonstrations on Sunday. Interior Minister Taeib Cherqaoui said the protests demanding that King Mohamed give up some of his powers were largely peaceful, but troublemakers had vandalised buildings in some towns, including Al Hoceima where the bodies were discovered.

1348 Elsewhere in the region, thousands of anti-government demonstrators have taken part in rallies across Yemen. Protesters calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to resign have taken to the streets in the capital, Sanaa, the southern city of Aden and the northern Saada region considered stronghold of the Shia Huthi rebels.

1344 Police have fled the city of Zawiyah, west of the capital, and it has has since sunk into chaos, witnesses who have fled to neighbouring Tunisia are quoted as telling AFP.

1339 The head of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, has described the protesters' demands as legitimate and has called for an end to violence in Libya. In London, the British government has told the Libyan ambassador that it absolutely condemns the use of lethal force against protesters. Human Rights Watch says more than 230 people have been killed since the unrest began last week.

1338 Thanks for following the latest news from Libya and the Middle East with the BBC. If you're just joining us, here's a quick update: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is under growing pressure at home and abroad after his supporters reacted with violence overnight against anti-government protests in the capital, Tripoli. Unconfirmed reports suggest Col Gaddafi has left the city.

1334 The Tripoli resident adds: "If we stay inside the house our lives are in danger, the Africans, they come inside the house and they want to, like in the other places they rape the women, they are the ones with the weapons, they can just smash down the door and come inside and kiss us. We have to show our support for the country. How many more people do they have to hear about dying or see being shot for them to sit in the house. We can't just sit in the house. She called for the international community to, "come inside and see. Everyone's just watching, like the television, like a movie, no-one's doing something [sic]. How many more people have to die?"

1332 We're receiving moving testimonies from Tripoli. One woman told the BBC's World at One that her three brothers who joined a protest on Sunday had not yet returned home. "We don't know what to do," she said. "We can't go outside, I'm a girl and can't go outside. My brothers are trapped outside, trying to protest, trying to work for freedom, they have nothing, we don't know what to do."

1328 Italian energy giant ENI, the biggest foreign oil producer in Libya, has announced it is evacuating all non-essential staff from the country, AFP reports.

1325 Libya's Quryna newspaper is reporting that anti-government protests have broken out in the town of Ras Lanuf - the site of a major oil refinery.

1322 Wael Ghonim tweets:"Can't wait to see #Gaddafi follow #BinAli and #Mubarak path. He is the craziest dictator in the world. #Libya will thrive after him"

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1320 Sayed Abdul Wakil in Tripoli writes, "I don't want fall of Gaddafi as he is a brave man and can control the territory. We understand that Americans trying to destroy the revolution through media but I assure you it won't happen."

1317 Several Libyan cities, including Benghazi and Sirte, have fallen to anti-government demonstrators following the defection of some army units, the International Federation for Human Rights has said, as quoted by AFP. The organisation put the death toll since the start of the uprising at between 300 and 400.

1310 Prof Aref Ali Nayed, one of Libya's most senior religious leaders and a member of one of the major tribes in Libya, the Warfla tribe, has told the BBC World Service he now expects the tribes will stand united against the government of Col Gaddafi in this crisis: "All the great tribes of Libya are united. The only thing that divided them was Gaddafi and his regime. A united Libya is a reality that is alive in our blood. That is why you see people in Tripoli taking to the streets without anything in their hands to be shot dead for the sake of their brothers and sisters in the east."

1308 Our correspondent adds: "Hour by hour there are reports of more defections. Almost all major tribal leaders seem to have joined the opposition, as well as important religious leaders, and several senior Libyan ambassadors. The east of the country is already almost entirely out of the hands of the government."

1306 The situation in Libya is becoming increasingly confused and chaotic, says the BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo. There are several reports Col Gaddafi has now left Tripoli, possibly to his hometown of Sirt or to his desert base of Sabha.

1300 One opposition activist has told the BBC the headquarters of the ruling party in Tripoli are under opposition control.

1250George Joffe, an expert on North Africa at Cambridge University, says the east of Libya has been a constant source of resentment against the Gaddafi regime for many years: "Benghazi, for example, has been neglected by the Gaddafi regime because it didn't see it as loyal. And beyond that, there have been specific incidents. It was in Benghazi that, in the 1990s, 413 children were infected with HIV-Aids, mainly because of the very poor conditions in Libya's hospitals. The Gaddafi regime tried to buy off popular resentment at that by accusing Bulgarian nurses of being responsible for it," he told the BBC World Service's Newshour programme.

1247Portugal's government says it has sent a military plane to Tripoli to begin evacuating EU citizens from Libya. In Brussels, Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado said a second plane was on standby to evacuate some 50 Portuguese nationals from the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.

1244 A police station in an eastern suburb of Tripoli is on fire, Reuters reports.

1242 In Yemen, tens of thousands of Shia Huthi rebels have staged a protest in the northern city of Saada, demanding that President Ali Abdullah Saleh's government step down, local tribal leaders have told AFP.

1237State-controlled Libyan TV has been broadcasting patriotic songs and a "live" phone-in programme giving air time to Col Gadaffi's supporters. They have been glorifying him and venting their anger at the anti-regime supporters, who were referred to as "agents and mercenaries". All the callers pledged to defend Col Gadaffi and the "revolution".

1234 Libyan Youth Movement tweets: "BREAKING: Death toll in Abu Slim Prison believed to be more than other hospitals in Tripoli combined. #libya #gaddaficrimes #feb17", although Libyans Revolt suggests another possible location: "@ShababLibya Abu Sleem Hospital not prison - Abu Sleem Hosp is the main trauma centre in #Tripoli #Libya #Feb17"

1230 The BBC's deputy political editor, James Landale, who is travelling with Mr Cameron, says the PM's visit to Egypt is a bold move: With this visit, Mr Cameron "risks accusations that he's legitimising the temporary government. But according to his officials, there is a brief window of opportunity to push for reform here and he intends to take it".

1225 More from Sara in Tripoli: She says Col Gaddafi is cracking down on the demonstrators because "Tripoli is very important. If he loses Tripoli than the whole regime is done".

1223Sara, a young woman in Tripoli, has told the BBC World Service her cousin and a friend were shot dead by security forces on Sunday, and she is very worried about her three brothers, who have told her by phone that they have also been shot at. She says it is not safe for her brothers to return home at the moment. "Since last night, I have been worried and pray that their phone cards don't run out. Because once they lose all their credit, we can have no communication."

1221 Over at the New York Times, Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof says the one element of ongoing protests across the Middle East that reports cannot fully capture is the bravery of the protesters. Their determination - in Bahrain, in Iran, in Libya, in Yemen - is such that change is a certainty, he says.

1216The London School of Economics "as a matter of urgency". Saif al-Islam Gaddafi received a PhD from the LSE in 2009 and also gave the university's Global Governance Research Unit a grant of £1.5m in the same year.

1210 A El Ferjani tweets: "youth of #tripoli : message is to head towards #libya ettisalat and pressure them to return internet coverage to the country. "

1207More than 2,300 Tunisians living in Libya have left the country since Sunday because of the unrest there, Libya's official agency has reported, according to AFP.

1203David Cameron will push for an end to Egypt's emergency laws during his official visit to Cairo, a UK official has confirmed. Lifting the emergency laws, which have been in place for more than three decades, has been one of the main demands of the protesters who launched the uprising earlier this month.

1157 The UK Foreign Office has clarified that the withdrawal of dependents of embassy staff in Tripoli is not an evacuation of all staff, and it is also not an evacuation of dependents because they will be withdrawing by commercial means. It says it understands that the airport in Tripoli is still open to commercial flights leaving the country.

1156The UK government has revoked eight export licences to Libya since the violence broke out, the prime minister's spokeswoman has said. She was unable to say what the export licences were for, but said they usually cover such things as arms. Mr Cameron has described the sitiuation in Libya as "completely appalling and unacceptable". He said: "The protesters want to see the country make progress. This is one of the most closed and autocratic regimes, the response they've shown is really quite appalling."

1149 Speaking to reporters on the plane, Mr Cameron said: "This is a moment of great opportunity for Egypt. It is a great opportunity for us to talk to those currently running Egypt to make sure this really is a genuine transition from military to civilian rule."

1145More on David Cameron's visit to Egypt: He will speak to anti-Mubarak opposition figures, but not the Muslim Brotherhood; he will meet Mohamad Hussain Tantawi, the leader of the ruling army council, and PM Ahmed Shafiq.

1141 Credit rating agency Standard and Poor's has said it is downgrading Bahrain's credit rating by one notch, from A to A-, and could lower it further given the high level of political risk after week-long anti-government protests.

1138BBC Europe Editor Gavin Hewitt on how Europe is debating what it can do in the longer term in the Middle East, after struggling to find a consistent voice in the crisis.
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1132 More on the five deaths in northern Morocco (1115 entry): The burned bodies of the five victims were found in the offices of a bank which was set ablaze during unrest after demonstrations on Sunday in al-Hoceima, Interior Minister Taib Cherkaoui has said.

1128A number of European oil companies - Norway's Statoil, Austria's OMV and Royal Dutch Shell - have moved some staff following the violence in Libya, Reuters reports. Production at the Murzaq oil field run by Spain's Repsol has been unaffected so far, as has output from Eni's operations.

1125Dependents of UK embassy staff in Libya are to fly home, the Foreign Office says.

1122 UK Prime Minister David Cameron has flown into Cairo on the first visit to Egypt by a world leader since the uprising which forced President Mubarak from power 10 days ago.

1120Moaad Taufik writes: "My uncle just called me from the Zawyiat Aldahmani district, central Tripoli. He went out to protest, with everybody else in tandem protesting peacefully against the regime. There is live gun fire echoing around the capital - and at this rate Tripoli will be free tonight. However, pro-Gaddafi agencies are handing out FREE meat, fish and nuts to all of those who join the pro-Gaddafi protests."
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1119 Mr Malloch-Brown, who is also a former UK foreign office minister, adds at this point it might be a better option to try "to offer Gaddafi a kind of way out" than attempting to moderate his behavour. "Sadly I fear that's going to be very hard to do, given his history and given his personality."

1117 The former head of the UN Development Programme, Mark Malloch-Brown, has said foreign criticism of the Gaddafi regime "may not be particularly effective". Mr Malloch-Brown told the BBC World Service: "I think we've got to be realistic that the Gaddafi group, as it comes under this pressure, isolated, angry, is going to lash out, and the influence of outsiders on that is going to be extremely limited."

1115 In Morocco, five people have died as a result of Sunday's unrest in the northern town of al-Houceima, AFP reports.

1112Meera from London (not her real name), who is in contact with her family in Tripoli, says: "One building which has some TV studios has been burnt down last night in Tripoli. It's the one on Nasr (Victory) Street. The MAIN state television station (on Shat (Coastal) Street) is still standing and surrounded by armed forces. It is on a residential road that is totally barricaded with barbed wire, a road from which people cannot drive in or out. My family house is in that area. People living in houses in those barricaded areas are anxiously ready to defend their properties using kitchen knives."
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1109Mr Hague, who is also in Brussels, had more to say about the Libyan protests: "The credibility of the Libyan government in these matters has been undermined so far by the failure to protect their own people and to respond to the legitimate grievances of the people in Libya."

1106 A protester in Bahrain has died as a result of his injuries, AFP quotes an opposition protester as saying.

1105Meanwhile in Egypt, a senior US government official, William J Burns, has arrived for talks with the army-led interim government and representatives of civil society, the US embassy says. It is the first visit to Cairo by a high-level US diplomat since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak.

1101Mr Hague says the UK government has summoned the Libyan ambassador to London to protest against the violence in the country.

1100 UK Foreign Secretary William Hague says the government will assess the needs for evacuation from Libya as the situation progresses. The Foreign Office is currently advising against all but essential travel to Libya, with those without a pressing need to remain in the country encouraged to leave by commercial means.

1057In Tripoli, the Libyan authorities seem to have regained control of the streets for now, says a BBC correspondent in the region.

1055 Oil is at the heart of the Libyan economy: The oil sector contributes about 95% of export earnings and 60% of public sector wages. In 2009, the country produced 1.65m barrels per day, some 2% of total world oil production and has 3.3% of proven world oil reserves.

1049More on the scale of BP's operation in Libya: It is based in two areas - deep-water drilling surveys in the Mediterranean Sea which is unaffected, and drilling preparation in the Western desert where contracting staff have been pulled out, forcing the company to halt drilling.

1047 In Tunisia, Mouldi Kefi has been named as the country's new foreign minister, AFP quotes an official as saying.

1041Ahmed Sawalem from the Libyan Youth Movement says the protests are not organised by specific groups or personalities, but have spread to Tripoli because people "took heart" after hearing about the crackdown by security forces on protesters in Benghazi. Security forces had order to aim for upper bodies when shooting demonstrators, he says. "Most of the reports from eyewitnesses and relatives in hospital confirm that this is what happened," he told the BBC World Service.

1035The French government spokesman tells French radio the international community needs to work to prevent Libya descending into further chaos: "We are very worried and quite shocked. We strongly condemn everything that is happening - this unbelievable violence. It can fall into a civil war that is extraordinarily violent and long... It has already started... and we've got to do everything on a diplomatic level and co-ordinate the American and the European Union's positions to prevent a crisis."

1033 London's Brent oil price hits $105 a barrel over the violence in Libya, the highest since September 2008, AFP reports.

1031A number of senior Libyan diplomats have resigned in protest at the response of Col Gaddafi's government to the unrest. The ambassador to India, Ali al-Issawi, told the BBC foreign mercenaries had been deployed against Libyan citizens. In Cairo, Libya's ambassador to the Arab League, Abdel Moneim al-Honi, told journalists he was joining the revolution. The Libyan ambassador in Beijing has also resigned.

1028British oil company BP says it is "very likely" some of its employees in Libya will be evacuated in the "next couple of days", a spokesman has said. BP has about 140 employees in the country, of whom less than a third are expatriates.

1024More from Malta's Tonio Borg, who says if people start to leave Libya because of the unrest, his country will struggle to cope: "We saw what happened in Tunisia where, because of the instability, you had 5,000 immigrants arriving in five days on Lampedusa, and just to give you an impression, one migrant who arrives in Malta is like 150 who arrive in Sicily or, proportionately, 200 who arrive in Germany."

1021Omar Mohammed, from Tripoli writes: "Saif's comments are a disgrace and an insult to me and all Libyans; particularly those who are continually being massacred in cold-blooded genocide. Civil war is the last thing that will come as a result of Libyans attaining their freedom. Libyans want and wish to make progress and are being hampered by illegitimate leadership, such as that of Saif and his father. Their leadership is disconnected, unrepresentative, authoritarian and corrupt. It is not what Libyans want and not what Libyans will have."
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1016Malta's Foreign Minister, Tonio Borg, who is also in Brussels, says Malta, as a neighbour of Libya, is concerned with what is happening there: "I think that would create instability in the region and therefore I also think that the European Union should be in favour of the territorial integrity of Libya as well as whatever happens in the future," he said.

1013Malcolm in London, whose partner works for Shell in Tripoli as an economist, says the toughest thing is that there is no media on the ground, so getting a picture of what the situation is like is difficult. "Obviously they've been prepared for the situation to worsen for the last few days and today they went into the office to be told that a Shell aircraft has been lined up to bring them back home. The office has been shut down. The sense I get is that things are relatively calm, but there are military vehicles in Tripoli today," he said.

1010Khaled, from Benghazi/UK, writes: "Saif clearly desperate to play last card! It's too late for falling regime ruled by incredibly corrupt family and their cronies."
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1007 More from the former Libyan government spokesman: He says Muammar Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, must start dialogue with the opposition and hold talks on constitution.

1003A former Libyan government spokesman says the country's leadership is taking the wrong approach by threatening violence, Reuters reports.

0958Prof Aref Ali Nayed, who has recently left Libya, calls on the international community to intervene. "It is very hard for civilians to approach barracks when they're being shot at by live ammunition. We need international help and this blood will be on everyone's hands. Everybody was upset at Yvonne Fletcher, as I am saddened and upset at what happened to her and her family. But you've got hundreds of Yvonne Fletchers now in Benghazi," he tells the BBC.

0957 Exiled Bahraini opposition figure Hassan Machaimaa has said he wants to return to the capital, Manama, AFP reports.

0955Walid Shaari, from Beida, Libya, writes: "Demonstrations are all over Libya, my Tripoli friends tell me of a brutal attack by the security forces on them, much harsher than the one they have seen in Benghazi. In the morning, it is quite peaceful. In the afternoon, it starts with burying the dead from the previous day's encounters. The son of Gaddafi, who is he? He does not belong to us, nor present us Libyans. What are his qualifications? His family are the ones causing all these tribal fights before and now.."
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0950A protester tells the BBC people are fearful about coming out on the streets of Tripoli after what happened overnight. "We tried to shout for people to come out.. and people are scared... I don't blame them... People are scared to come out at the moment because they're not sure. ...Last night, we tried to... tried to grab the tv station and grab the radio station."

0945Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, attending a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, says the situation in Libya is worrying: "We are stating our views very clearly. We are extremely concerned with events and condemn very clearly the repression that is ongoing. But then we are looking beyond what is happening today. It is a long-term challenge of development, of reform, of economic growth in that entire part of North Africa and the Middle East which will be very high up on the agenda for quite some time to come."

0939 @Tripolitanian tweets: "@rstripolina Yea its quieting down, still some people out, they're really tired, lots dead, promising to come bk out tmrw tho"

0935 Libyan television has continued to broadcast on Monday morning, despite protesters reportedly ransacking the building. Broadcasts were interrupted on Sunday evening.

0930 @Organica_ tweets: "Out of all the Arab revolutions, Libya's revolution #Feb17 has been the bloodiest with the LEAST coverage from both the West and East #Libya"

0918 Protesters in Tripoli have ransacked the headquarters of state television overnight and set the offices of the People's Comittees that are the mainstay of the regime ablaze, witnesses have told AFP by telephone.

0915 UK energy company BP is preparing to evacuate some of its staff from Libya due to the violence, a spokesman tells AFP.

0913 A central government building in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, is on fire, a Reuters reporter at the scene is saying.

0905 The European Union is envisaging the evacuation of its citizens from Libya, particularly from the eastern opposition stronghold of Benghazi, Spain's Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez is quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

0900Welcome to the BBC's live coverage of the unrest in Libya and across the rest of the Middle East and North Africa. Stay with us for the latest updates - reports from our correspondents on the ground, expert analysis, and your reaction from around the world. You can contact us via email, text or twitter. We'll publish what we can.

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