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As it happened: Mid-East and North Africa protests

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on state TV (22 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 22 February 2011, as they unfolded throughout the day (first entry at the bottom).

  • Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi made a defiant speech on state TV, promising to "cleanse Libya house by house".
  • Tripoli residents say the sound of gunfire reverberated around the city while Col Gaddafi made his speech.
  • In Bahrain, tens of thousands of people have once again flooded the streets to demand political reform.
  • Exiled Bahraini opposition figure Hassan Machaimaa is expected to return to the country later.
  • Live page reporters: Alexandra Fouché, Becky Branford, Joe Boyle and Rajini Vaidyanathan.
  • All times in GMT.

0102 That concludes our live coverage for the day. The latest news and stories from the region will be on the BBC News website.

0054 US Assistant Secretary of State, Jeffrey Feltman, will travel to Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates, from February 22nd to March 2nd. In a statement the State department said his visit, "will reaffirm the United States' commitment to our longstanding partnerships in the region as well as universal human rights, freedom of expression, and the promotion of democratic principles."

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0037 Libyan Dude tweets: "Libyans spent 42 years terrified of Gaddafi. Just seeing him in that same state of fear today shows we've almost won this."

0030 Reuters news agency is reporting that Senegal has severed diplomatic ties with Iran, saying Tehran supplied rebels with weapons which killed Senegalese troops.

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0022 Bint Libya tweets: "Even tho theres a genocide in Libya it doesn't mean only Libyans are getting killed..their bullets aren't discriminating."

0012 In the short term, the tools the West can employ to deal with the situation in Libya are limited, says Robert Danin from the Council on Foreign Relations. "What would be dramatic would be to employ a no fly zone over Tripoli to protect the protestors from Colonel Gaddafi's aircraft," he tells the BBC.

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0008 LibyanYouthMovement tweets: "Gaddafi is finished. He has proven he is only capable of madness. There is no room for him in Libya."

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Razia, from Manchester, England, writes: "I have lived in Libya for four years. I've been working at the International School in Tripoli but on Sunday when I saw how bad things had got and heard the bombs and missiles going off, I decided to pack up my suitcase and return to the UK. Even on the road going down to the airport, every person had weapons. It was scary."

2355 In Benghazi, it appears residents have speedily adjusted to life without Col Gaddafi. A resident who identified himself as Waleed told the BBC: "We have people directing traffic. We also have young kids out collecting refuse and rubbish. People are donating their pick-up trucks. We have stores opening again. Everything's calm. Everything's safe."

2351 A Libyan parliament Speaker says calm has returned to most major cities in the country. In a statement on state-controlled Libyan TV he said: "Security forces have begun to be deployed in these cities and life began to return to normal."

2338 For sheer vitriol, read Robert Fisk in the UK's Independent newspaper who gives gives a searing critique of Col Gaddafi, describing him as "a comedy actor who had turned to serious tragedy in his last days, desperate for the last make-up lady, the final knock on the theatre door".

2334 The AFP agency reports it has a statement from Peruvian President Alan Garcia. It reads:"Peru is suspending all diplomatic relations with Libya until the violence against the people ceases." Will other nations follow suit?

2328 Italian Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa says Mr Berlusconi briefed his ministers on his conversation with Col Gaddafi: "He called for an end to all violence and told us that the Libyan leader Gaddafi said a lot of the violence was against soldiers, against army barracks and that many of the dead, were among the military forces."

2323 Italy has huge investments in Libya, and has a lot to lose. It's emerged that Silvio Berlusconi called his long-time ally Col Gaddafi earlier. According to the Libyan Jana news agency: "The brother leader reassured the friend Berlusconi that 'Libya is fine, its people are... holding on to its security, stability and national unity.'"

2313 The AFP news agency is reporting that Peru has suspended diplomatic ties with Libya.

2304
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The BBC's Barbara Plett at the UN tweets: "...condemning violence in Libya, calling for those responsible to be held to account, govt must protect its people and lift media curbs."

2300
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The BBC's Barbara Plett at the UN tweets: "Seems earlier reports of China stress on "internal matter" was Chinese whispers, Western nations seem happy w/ "strong" Libya statement."

2258 The United Nations Security Council has issued a statement which condemns the use of violence in Libya and calls for those responsible for attacks on civilians to be held to account. The statement was agreed by the council after a day of debate on the situation in Libya.

2236 David Woolnough writes: "I cannot help but admire the courage of those demonstrating. In this country we go out and are reasonably assured of coming back. There they are going out with the real knowledge that the next event will be a funeral."
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2231 The question everyone is asking: what is Col Gaddafi's next move? Time magazine's Robert Baer has a grim answer. He reckons the Libyan leader will sabotage oil refineries and set Islamist militants free from jail.

2227 Emily, from Hull, writes: "Reports on Libyan TV - pro-Gaddafi supporters entered hospitals, rounded the wounded and killed them in an unspecified location. Where is their help?! Who is out there defending these people??"
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2224 Spain is sending a second plane late on Tuesday to fly stranded Spaniards out of Libya, the Associated Press is reporting. The agency says about 60 Spaniards were trying to leave the country and that 160 have already left on commercial flights.

2208 Raymond Goddey, from Nigeria, writes: "Gaddafi should be forced out of power and be prosecuted and go to jail to spend the rest of his life there, he should know that his time has come to an end, he is going to end with shame."
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2159 Reuters is reporting that a hospital on the Egyptian-Libyan border has received the first of injured Egyptians from the unrest in Libya.

2150 In Yemen, where clashes between protesters and government supporters have become a daily occurrence, Reuters reports two demonstrators have been killed and more than 10 injured by gunfire from backers of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa.

2146 Jussi Soini tweets: "Warfala has declared war, marching a convoy to Tripoli from Bani Waled and calling other tribes to join."
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2145 Quryna newspaper reports that the Libyan army has deployed a "large number" of soldiers to Sabratha, west of Tripoli, after protesters destroyed almost all the security services offices.

2142 Saskia Iserief tweets: "Libyan army deploys in Sabratah west of Tripoli after protesters destroy govt buildings."
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2138 The former British foreign secretary Lord Owen, tells the BBC's Newshour that the situation is "a humanitarian disaster". He believes the UN needs to mandate a resolution. "We can't intervene on the ground, but we can stop Gaddafi threatening his own people with his air force."

2124 The BBC Arabic service's Najilaa Abou Merhi says the defection by Libya's interior minister is "significant". It shows Colonel Gaddafi is definitely losing power, she says.

2120More on the Arab League's decision to suspend Libya from meetings (see entry at 1828): Mr Moussa says Libyan delegations are banned "until the Libyan authorities respond to the demands that have been set".

2117Arab League head Amr Moussa urges an end to the violence in Libya: "We urge the initiation of national dialogue to respond to the demands of the Libyan people while respecting their rights of protesting and expressing their opinions in a peaceful manner."

2106AFP news agency reports that it has obtained official figures putting the death toll from the unrest at 300, including 58 soldiers.

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Paul, from Wolverhampton, UK, writes: "My brother works on the oil fields in the Libyan desert, he tells me that there are 15 Brits stranded there with no way out. They are 10 hours from any airport and are being told by the Home Office to sit tight!"

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Lucy writes: "My brother is stuck in Benghazi at the moment, he said the airport looks fine, it's just being controlled by the army, and that the streets seem quiet enough. He hopes to get out on an Italian ship tomorrow. I am sending my best wishes to the Libyan people and all the expats there, be safe, be well."

2042BBC correspondent Jon Leyne managed to get into Libya on Tuesday and found the eastern region totally under opposition control. "They are flying a new flag; there is a picture of Muammar Gaddafi crossed out," he writes.

2031 Col Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam will hold a press conference in Tripoli, Reuters reports.

2020 Al-Jazeera says Abdel Fattah Younes al Abidi has announced his defection and support for the "revolution".

2009 More reports of dissent from within the Libyan regime as its interior minister calls on the army to join the people and respond to their "legitimate demands", according to Al-Jazeera.

1955
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Duri Al Ajrami tweets: "Speech showed Gaddafi living his last days. Totally separated from his people, his region and the international community."

1951
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The BBC's Frank Gardner tweets: "Sorry, just can't see the funny side of Gaddafi's speech when so much blood has been spilled in Libya, what's happening there is tragic."

1939
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Abdullah, Vancouver tweets: "I'm trying to call my friends in many areas in Tripoli but all calls fail. Cellular is useless at the moment."

1933 The BBC's Mark Gregory has been looking into the Gaddafi regime's wealth: "Libyan cash abroad is held by an organisation called the Libyan Investment Authority - a fund set up about five years ago to manage the country's oil wealth. It's believed to have around $70bn of assets, including - bizarrely - a stake in the company that owns the British business publication the Financial Times. The fund's investments are thought to focus mainly on Italy, where they include a shareholding in a major bank and in Juventus football team."

1928
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Gebriel, from Libya, writes: "Based on Gaddafi's speech, it is very clear that he is stuck and looking for a safe way out. It will be very wise if UN guarantees for him a safe departure from Libya to seek asylum in other country. Otherwise he will use all his power to kill and destroy everything including oil industry in Libya."

1920More detail from Angela Merkel giving her reaction to Col Gaddafi's speech: "The news we've had from Libya yesterday and today is worrying and the speech by Colonel Gaddafi this afternoon was very, very frightening, especially because he virtually declared war on his own people. If the use of violence does not cease then Germany will exhaust every possibility to exert pressure and influence on Libya."

1917More from the BBC's Jon Leyne in eastern Libya: This whole area, maybe even as much as half of the country, is under the control of the opposition. There's not a big fear that Colonel Gaddafi is going to retake this area, it seems to have gone too far for that. The fear is how much havoc he will wreak in a last stand in Tripoli. He is retreating to an ever smaller circle.

1910BBC's Barbara Plett says the UN is expected to make a statement on Libya later. She says diplomats believe the crisis in Libya has a much greater potential impact on international peace and security than Egypt or Tunisia.

1908US state department spokesman PJ Crowley says: "We view recent announcements to launch a national dialogue and the release of political prisoners as positive steps towards addressing the concerns of Bahraini citizens."

1907Some rare praise for one of the Arab world's old regimes. The US commends the Bahraini government for taking steps to restore calm and allow peaceful demonstrations.

1902More from Chloe Arnold: "The state of emergency was imposed in 1992, at the start of two decades of bloodshed in which security forces fought Islamist rebels. The violence left as many as 250,000 people dead."

1900The BBC's Chloe Arnold in Algiers has more detail on the decision to lift the state of emergency (see 1728 entry): "Observers say the government appears to be lifting the state of emergency as a concession to opposition parties and human rights activists, who have been staging marches calling for democracy and greater freedoms. Inspired by popular revolts across the Arab World, they say they will rally every Saturday in the capital until there has been a change in the regime."

1857The BBC's China editor Shirong Chen says: "China has decided to put forth the largest overseas evacuation in recent history to help stranded workers in Libya, on land, by air and by sea. Embassy officials from Cairo have been despatched to the border area."

1844Egyptian youth groups are also unimpressed with the reshuffle. Mohammed Abbas, a member of the Egypt Youth Coalition, says another mass protest is planned for Friday: "We have to keep the pressure until all our demands are met."

1842Egypt's cabinet reshuffle has not been universally praised by opposition element. There were 11 new ministers announced, but Mubarak loyalists remained in several key ministries. The Muslim Brotherhood said Mubarak's "cronies" were still in charge.

1830BBC Arabic has more eyewitnesses accounts of shooting breaking out across Tripoli.

1824
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Yousef Munayyer from the Palestine Center in Washington tweets: "I hope the African Union follows and suspends #Libya as well. #Gaddafi has often found refuge among Africans when couldn't with Arabs"

1828AFP reports Libya is banned from Arab League meetings.

1824
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Ceasefire Magazine tweets: "Gaddafi has achieved the impossible: he made Mubarak look dignified and Ben Ali look like a genius #Gaddafi #17Feb #Libya"

1818The UK's recent ban on arms exports to Libya shows welcome restraint but comes too late, says Pieter Wezeman from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. told the BBC's Focus on Africa: "Politicians up to the levels of presidents and prime ministers have visited Libya and tried to market military equipment to Gaddafi in the knowledge that this man is a dictator, and in the knowledge that there was a risk he might use those weapons against his own population. So it's good that they have restraint now, but it does seem a bit late."

1815Athens may have plenty of takers, as according to AFP news agency a French plane intended for evacuations has been unable to land in Tripoli.

1812Greece says it has offered to evacuate 15,000 Chinese citizens by ship from Libya, and is considering requests from other countries to help ferry out their nationals, reports AP.

1809
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Al-Jazeera's Dima Khatib tweets: "Qaddafi knows he has lost control over 2/3 or may be even up to 3/4 of national territory. He will pull all his tricks now #libya #feb14"

1807German chancellor Angela Merkel called Col Gaddafi's speech "very very frightening", according to Reuters.

1803The Tripoli eyewitness said she hadn't been protesting, but her cousin had: "He was shot in his leg and his chest, and he is hospitalised right now. He was shot by black people, people recruited from outside the country."

1801An eyewitness in Tripoli tells the BBC World Service that during Col Gaddafi's speech she heard gunfire in the city: "I was hearing gunshots in a lot of areas. I tried to contact people I know and they all confirmed it's happening in different areas of Tripoli. It's not just one area."

1759Maajid Nawaz of the UK based anti-extremism think tank Quilliam says in a statement on its website: "Gaddafi's speech perfectly illustrates why this man is unfit to run a country. Gaddafi and his family are willing to destroy the entire Libyan nation in order to cling on to power. A man who threatens his own country with civil war forfeits the right to rule. It is time for him to go. "

1755
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EnoughGaddafi tweets:? "Families not allowed 2 retrieve bodies of killed family members unless they sign waiver saying their loved 1s died in surgery #libya #feb17"

1752The doctor says she was forced to treat people from the Libyan regime or military rather than her own people.

1751A doctor in Tripoli tells the BBC's Focus On Africa she has seen a lot of dead people, many of whom died in front of her, and described events there as a "massacre".

1749More from Jon Leyne: On the Egyptian side of the border there are thousands of Egyptians fleeing the violence, delighted to be back home.

1748The BBC's Jon Leyne in eastern Libya: We arrived in Libya through a border post completely controlled by the opposition. There's a picture of Col Gaddafi crossed out. There are no forces loyal to Gaddafi anywhere.

1746
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Faisal Islam of the UK's Channel 4 news tweets: "Gaddafi speech clearly cut at beginning with fake crowd cheering and kissing his picture. Crowd mysteriously disappears at end of speech."

1742
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Tajimustafa tweets: "#Ghadaffi's speech summarizd: 1) He praised himself repeatedly 2) threatened to murder more people unless they support him"

1740The BBC's reporter in Tripoli, who cannot be named for security reasons, says Col Gaddafi's speech has sparked no noticeable reaction on the streets - but the opposition have already pledged to stage a big protest after nightfall, and demonstrators are said to begun arriving in Tripoli from the other cities in Libya.

1736 Pathaan? tweets: "Whilst Gaddafi is being defiant, here's hoping the UK charter plane isn't too little, too late"
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1735 Ashrafkhalil? tweets: "Now that we're all done mocking the craziness, Qaddhafi's speech has left me with a terrible feeling of dread"
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1731The Algerian government has been promising to lift the 19-year emergency for the past three weeks, but the move has now been confirmed as it has been printed in the official gazette.

1728Algeria's state of emergency will be lifted "imminently" according to state media.

1722Col Gaddafi finishes his speech after an hour-and-a-quarter with the threat to "cleanse Libya house by house" if the protesters don't surrender.

1715Eyewitnesses in Tripoli tell BBC Arabic there is shooting on the streets of the capital.

1709The BBC's China editor Shirong Chen says China has begun evacuating its citizens from Libya: "China has evacuated 83 workers on land from Tubrug to the Egyptian border, from where Chinese embassy officials have taken them to the border town of Serum."

1702 BintLibya tweets: "CONFIRMED!!!!! Helicopters in Tripoli hovering around and now the lejan thawreeya guys have machine guns with ammo! #Libya"
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1700Tunisia, where the regional protests began, has demanded an immediate end to the use of force against innocent civilians, AFP news agency quoted its foreign ministry as saying.

1658The security council had agreed to formally discuss Libya's crisis, but the ambassador's arrival has thrown that process into confusion.

1657From the UN: Libya's deputy ambassador has been speaking to the media in recent days, accusing Col Gaddafi's forces of genocide. But the country's ambassador has just turned up as the security council was debating the Libya's situation. He says he will negotiate directly with the colonel.

1655Confusion reigns about who represents Libya at the UN, reports the BBC's Barbara Plett.

1654For anyone wondering why Col Gaddafi's location is important, on Monday rumours swirled that he had left the country and headed for Venezuela.

1651More on Col Gaddafi's location, from the BBC's Frank Gardner: "Judging from the backdrop, Col Gaddafi's latest speech was almost certainly filmed at his Bab Al-Aziziyah barracks in Tripoli. It shows bomb damage from the US air raid in 1986 and its where we have filmed him before on previous trips."

1649The BBC's diplomatic correspondent James Robbins says it could be extremely difficult for the UK to gain permission from Libya for HMS Cumberland to enter its ports in order to rescue Britons trying to leave the country.

1648Away from the chaos in Libya, tens of thousands of people have marched through the capital of Bahrain, in one of the biggest protests yet in the campaign for greater democracy in the Gulf kingdom.

1643
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Mona Eltahawy tweets: "Those "pill-popping rats" the youth #Gaddafikeeps referring 2 - I salute u revolutionaries. You are toppling the nut.He is finished. #Libya"

1641
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Shadi Hamid tweets: "Qaddafi has repeated "punishment with death" like 50 times. Seems like he's gearing up for repeat of #Syria 1982 #Libya"

1636Anti-Gaddafi protest in London - about 1,000 people chanting "no to Gaddafi" outside Downing Street.

1633UK Foreign Secretary William Hague says a charter plane and HMS Cumberland will head to Libya to evacuate British people. He said there were indications that the state structure in Libya was collapsing, and added that a transparent report on violence used on protesters was needed and serious abuses of human rights "must be investigated".

1631
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Sima Sahar Zerehi tweets: "#Gaddafi calling protestors terrorists_asking people to go on the streets & disarm them? The only ones with arms are his mercenaries #Libya"

1629More from Frank Gardner: I don't think he's got a PR company arranging this for him, he is somebody who has lived inside a bubble for the past 41 years.

1628The BBC's security correspondent Frank Gardner, who has met the Libyan leader before, says the address seemed to be coming from an army barracks in Tripoli - appearing to confirm that he has not left the capital.

1626Col Gaddafi accuses protesters of "playing games with the country's unity" and says they should be executed.

1625Moroccan official Youssef Lamrani says his country has formed a crisis team to manage the evacuation of tens of thousands of expatriates from Libya.

1619
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Shakeeb Al-Jabri tweets: "@BarackObama If a massacre happens tonight in #Libya, and you've still not said a word, you should really give back that Nobel Peace Prize."

1618Al-Jazeera Arabic TV is playing Col Gaddafi's speech alongside footage of protesters throwing stones at pictures of his son Saif. Col Gaddafi dislikes al-Jazeera, and it appears the feeling may be mutual.

1614Col Gaddafi: "If matters require, we will use force, according to international law and Libyan constitution."

1612
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Mo-ha-med tweets: "Don't dictators ever get tired of the "blaming the foreigners" theme? #libya #gaddafi"

1611More from Col Gaddafi: "Fighting will carry on street by street until Libyan soil is liberated."

1610
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Theodore May tweets: "Following Gaddafi on both Jazeera and CNN. CNN has G's audio very low for the translation... you can't tell that he's YELLING. #Libya"

1609Col Gaddafi says all decisions made by the people - including the decision for the state to administer oil revenues.

1603Col Gaddafi renews accusations that protesters were young people who had been given "hallucinatory drugs".

1600Col Gaddafi says he will not leave Libya, he will die on Libyan soil.

1559 Al Jazeera English tweets: "Libyan ship spotted off Malta coast: Italian navy say they are monitoring a Libyan "naval asset" off the coast of Malta."
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1558More from Col Gaddafi: "All African nations look up to Libya, all the rulers of the world look up to Libya. Protesters are serving the devil, they want to humiliate you. We want to recover, to react effectively on the ground."

1556Col Gaddafi says he is not the president of the country, he is the leader of the revolution.

1554"Libya wants chaos, beards and turbans", says Col Gaddafi, according to the live translation.

1553Libya leader Col Gaddafi begins speech, carried live on state TV.

1540More from William Hague: "The Libyan government is trying to stop the world seeing what is happening. But they should be held accountable by the international community and by Libyans themselves."

1539The UK is gravely concerned about the situation in Libya, which is a danger to the people of Libya and could have serious implications for the wider region, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague says in a statement.

1535For a precis of what's going on in each country across the Middle East and North Africa, the BBC website's clickable map is well worth a look.

1530In Yemen, protests rumble on, with AFP news agency reporting more clashed between government supporters armed with daggers and batons, and students armed with sticks. The protests have been a regular occurrence over recent days.

1528Leaks reported by al-Arabiya TV suggest Col Gaddafi will announced major political reform in his televised speech, which is expected shortly.

1524Reuters reports that Egypt's defence, interior and foreign ministers have all kept their jobs after a cabinet reshuffle.

1521Amnesty International calls on the UN and Arab League to launch a mission to Libya to investigate the killing of protesters - saying any inquiry could lead to charges at the International Criminal Court.

1520The BBC's Barbara Plett in New York says Libya is a contentious issue for the UN - China and Russia don't think the security council should get involved with internal disputes at all, but they have been trumped by the Libyan delegation's request (see 1351 entry). If they meet formally, the question then will be how strong a statement can they release.

1515The BBC's Karen Allen reports from Johannesburg: "Opposition lawmakers in South Africa claim they have evidence that more than 100 sniper rifles and 50,000 rounds of ammunition were exported to Libya in 2010. It's a claim that's been dismissed by the Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu."

1512Following in the footsteps of Britain and France, South Africa's government is now keen to distance itself from allegations that it has supplied arms to the Arab world's beleaguered strongmen.

1509For days now, some European politicians have been warning of an influx of Libyans. Melissa Fleming from the UN's refugee agency says Europe should not turn anyone away: "If they want to flee, [they] should be received in other countries with a humanitarian spirit, with generosity and provided a safe haven."

1505
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The BBC's Frank Gardner tweets on an interview he has done with a Gaddafi opponent: "Anti-Gaddafi #Libyan to me on phone: 'this man has robbed us for 40 years.. if he can regain control of Tripoli he will punish Benghazi. The West has been regarding #Libya as a petrol station.'"

1456In a statement on its website Human Rights Watch has compiled some powerful testimony, including a protester who describes the mood on the ground: "I saw guys taking off their shirts and exposing their chests to the snipers. I've never seen anything like it, I was very ashamed to hide under a tree but I am human."

1451Human Rights Watch says at least 62 people have been killed in Tripoli unrest since Sunday - which corresponds with the figures eyewitnesses have give to the BBC.

1446The UN security council is meeting on the Libya unrest, and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has hinted at what the outcome might be: "We call on the Libyan government to stop, immediately, violence against its own citizens. If Libya continues to use force against its own people, sanctions will become inevitable."

1440A BBC Arabic correspondent in Cairo says the protesters are want the demands of the Egyptian revolution implemented - and they don't think Mr Shafiq is up to the job.

1439In Egypt, where protesters managed to get rid of long-term ruler Hosni Mubarak, hundreds of people are once again in Tahrir Square - this time calling for Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq's government to quit.

1434More from our reporter in Tripoli: "Col Gaddafi didn't even address the issue of the orders he'd given to pilots to bomb protesters, and that's what made people very angry and even made people from outside Tripoli come and join the protests. At the same time, the fact that he appeared on TV, and proved he's still in Tripoli, satisfied the protesters because they want him to be here to be prosecuted."

1433Back to Sunday's TV appearance by Col Gaddafi: our reporter in Tripoli, who we won't be naming for security reasons, says the appearance has helped fuel people's anger because he "completely dismissed" the fear he had spread in the country.

1431With the crisis in Libya deepening, the BBC website has a helpful guide to the Gaddafi family in case you lost track.

1427We don't know what time Col Gaddafi will speak, but please bear in mind that his speech last night was trailed for about five hours, and then his address lasted 26 seconds.

1426More on Col Gaddafi's expected speech: state TV says he will "address the masses of the Libyan people in [Tripoli's] Green Square". The channel is showing images of a small crowd of supporters, apparently gathering in Green Square.

1420Reuters also reports that Libya's cargo ports have shut down because of unrest.

1416Employees of Libya's consulate in the Egyptian city of Alexandria have lowered the national flag - designed by Col Gaddafi himself - and joined hundreds of protesters nearby calling for a revolt against Libya's leader, reports Reuters.

1410Libyan TV reports that Col Gaddafi will give a speech soon.

1409Shipping sources say operations at Benghazi, Tripoli and Misrata ports in Libya have been closed due to the violence, Reuters reports.

1406Ali Javed, acting ambassador at the Pakistani embassy in Tripoli, tells BBC Urdu there are around 18,000 Pakistanis in Libya, of whom some 5,000 are permanent residents, but the rest have been hired to work mainly in the construction and oil sector. He says there are some 2,000 Pakistani workers in Benghazi. He says they are all safe, but he does not have any other info about their situation. Pakistani workers near Tripoli have been left jobless because the Turkish company they worked for had decided to pull out of Libya. He said the embassy was now in contact with the Pakistani Foreign Ministry to see if these workers can be helped to return to Pakistan.

1403Citizens from Mali, Chad and Niger were "definitely" amongst the security forces serving in Libya, Malian journalist Adam Thiam tells BBC Network Africa.


1402In an interview with BBC Arabic TV, the Libyan writer Goma El-Gamaty says: "Libya is in a state of madness. Gaddafi has gone mad. He wants to burn the land. He is imposing a curfew by force. African mercenaries who speak English and French are wandering in the city in armoured vehicles. They are shooting anyone they see in the street, and there are other cars behind them to collect these dead bodies and they take [them] to a military base called 'maateka' to burn them there."

1357Egypt's foreign ministry has told its embassies in Arab, European Union and Western countries to seek a freeze on the assets of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his family, the ministry says according to Reuters.

1356Speaking to BBC Radio 4's World at One, the former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Sir John Holmes said unanimous international condemnation of the Libyan government's actions was needed: "There are sanctions available, but sanctions are also a very blunt instrument and really only really effective, if they ever are, over a long period. If the regime is fighting for their life they're not going to be listening very much to the words from outside. But I would hope that if the condemnation from the international community is unanimous, including from other Arab countries, including from some of the countries who don't normally speak out clearly in these cases - the Russians and the Chinese - so it's not just the usual Western suspects, that's got more chance of having an effect than simply condemnation from, say, London or Washington."

1351 Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya's deputy ambassador to the UN who on Monday urged the international community to protect Libyans from "genocide", tells BBC Arabic TV he hopes members of the UN Security Council will take action to protect Libyan civilians: "The Security Council will meet today. We will try to issue a statement on making Libya a no-fly zone in order to stop the raids on Libyan cities, to stop the mercenaries the regime is bringing from abroad, and to stop weapons from reaching this dictatorial regime."


1342Mona Rishmawi, from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has told the World at One programme on BBC Radio 4 that she wants to see an inquiry into the violence in Libya: "I'd like to see right now an immediate stop of violations in Libya. We'd like to see an inquiry about what is going on, an independent international investigation. I think if we start talking right now about accountability, talk about the need to ensure justice and people get the message that whoever is ordering what is being ordered right now in Libya will not get away with it. This is very, very important for deterrence as well."

1334BBC Monitoring says Libyan TV is now showing pro-Gaddafi protesters gathering in Tripoli's Green Square, but only a few dozen of them can be seen. Protesters in the centre are waving Libyan flags and holding up pictures of the Libyan leaders. Most protesters on the fringes are standing motionless.


1330The deputy head of the Nepalese embassy in Cairo, Tirtharaj Aryal, has told the World Service's Nepali Service that there are about 2,000 Nepalese workers in Libya. They are most concerned about nearly 600 workers in Darnah, as the camps in which they were living have been set on fire by people he termed "protesters". The construction companies that hired the Nepalese are trying to get them out as they are now homeless, but are finding it difficult to get hold of the money needed to move them because the banks are not operating properly, he says. The diplomat says they are also concerned that these workers may be running out of food as well. An effort is still going on to bring them back overland through Egypt.

1320 Libyans Revolt tweets: "Breaking: manager of Afriqiyah airline resigns: "will not allow pilots to bring in mercenaries"#Tripoli #Libya #feb17"
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1319Spain's biggest oil company, Repsol, has halted production in Libya as anti-government protests in the country spread, a company spokesman says according to AFP.

1315A doctor in Tripoli, who does not wish to be named, tells the BBC: "I'm a medical doctor and I'm working in a hospital. I've seen a lot, a lot of people dying in front of me. They force us to treat the regime or militia rather than our people. And there is a lot, a lot of dead people. It was a massacre, especially yesterday and the day before."


1313 The Netherlands will send a military transport plane to Tripoli today to evacuate its nationals, the defence ministry says in The Hague, according to AFP.


1312An anonymous writer tells us: "I just would like you to know that we just heard from a confidential source in Tripoli that: 'Soldiers stormed the Radisson hotel in central Tripoli last night. They fired shots in the hotel, but no one was harmed. They seized some laptops and passports from foreigners.'"
e-mail sent in by reader

1308Alex from Coolum, Australia, has forwarded us the latest email from his wife, who is a teacher in Tripoli: "Things deteriorating. Still in hiding, going for the airport tomorrow early, hopefully road blocks will be down, things are always quieter in the morning. The British Embassy is doing nothing for us, the Irish in Malta and Ireland are trying to get us on a military flight evac., as there are no tickets to be had. We will try for any flight out no matter where. There are gunships firing on the people, 1000's are marching on Tripoli from all small cities."
e-mail sent in by reader

1300 US Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman is calling on Middle East oil producers to increase output in a bid to curb crude prices, which have topped $107 a barrel over unrest in the region, reports AFP. He was speaking at energy talks in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

1258 Safwan Jammoun worked, until he quit on Monday, in the cultural affairs office of the Libyan embassy in London. "I took this decision to join our brothers in the street to be all united together. In Libya, people can't talk, they can't raise their voice, no salaries, no houses, no infrastructure; this is what bothers me," he says.

1251 Oil producers are currently holding informal meetings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to evaluate the situation in North Africa, an Italian government source is quoted as saying by Reuters.

1245 Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit has said Cairo is facing difficulties in repatriating up to 1.5 million Egyptians trapped by the uprising in Libya, AFP reports.

1241 In Bahrain, there is a massive demonstration going on, with tens of thousands of protesters calling for the downfall of the government, AFP journalists at the scene report.

1235 Libya's ambassador to the US, Ali Aujali, has said he no longer represents his country's "dictatorship regime" and has called on Col Gaddafi to step down: "I resign from serving the current dictatorship regime. But I will never resign from serving our people until their voices reach the whole world, until their goals are achieved," he told ABC television in the US. "I am calling for him [Gaddafi] to go and leave our people alone."

1227 One Libyan demonstrator, Yasmin, is outside the Libyan embassy in Dubai. She has been telling the BBC World Service about her conversations with relatives in Tripoli and Benghazi: "The situation at the moment in Tripoli is that there are planes flying, they are shooting randomly in the streets, they are using anti-aircraft weapons. He [Gaddafi] sent mercenaries: People from Chad, from Ghana, now they are saying there's Eastern Europeans coming in as well. They are coming into people's homes; they are attacking, raping and killing. They've been killing doctors in the hospitals."

1223 More from Maimuna in Musrata: "I feel that the revolution is necessary. For the last 42 years Libya has seen little change. But the way it is happening is really tragic - we did not expect lives to be taken. Where I live, there have not been many casualties, and it is not as bad as in Tripoli or Benghazi. I haven't been there, but we have been hearing about what has been going on. The people have seized control of the local formally state-controlled Musrata radio station. Usually the protests start around 1700 in Libya and that is when the phone lines stop working."
e-mail sent in by reader

1220 The Libyan side of Egypt's border in Musaid is controlled by men armed with clubs and Kalashnikov assault rifles opposed to Col Gaddafi, a Reuters correspondent at the scene reports.

1217 Maimuna, who lives 210km (130 miles) from Tripoli in Musrata, says people are being very cautious: "At the moment, it is calm but it is a nervous calm. Everyone is calling each other for information and watching the news for the latest updates. Compared to last night, the atmosphere is a little less tense. At around 0100 it was really bad as it was rumoured that there were aeroplane and helicopters hovering about. We were not sure what they were doing, but we heard them. I read on the internet that the planes had mercenaries on them. Today people are moving freely but we are being cautious. People have been told to remain at home, but my brother has gone to work. People don't go out at night past dark, and all stores are closed. Everyone has been locking their doors - usually they leave them open."
e-mail sent in by reader

1215Dr Ali al-Essawi, until Monday the Libyan ambassador to India, was one of the first to resign from his post in the wake of the uprising in his country. He tells the BBC World Service what he knows about events in Libya: "Well the latest information is that there is using of aircraft and helicopters and firing at the protesters on the ground, and using the foreign mercenaries to scare the families back home behind the protesters; they are scaring the families of the protesters because they stay alone... they go back and kill the wives and children and women in the house..."

1210 Russia was due to begin evacuating its nationals on Tuesday, Moscow's emergency situations ministry said late on Monday. The Russian community in Libya totals more than 500 people, officials say, mostly employees of state companies Russian Railways and Gazprom, and their families. The Russian Railways employees are building a railway line from Sirte to Benghazi.

1203 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has warned the unrest in the Middle East could bring fanatics to power and lead to decades of unrest, the Interfax news agency is reporting.

1155 Col Gaddafi's former head of protocol says he expects the Libyan leader to try to stay in the country and not step down, Reuters reports. Nuri al-Mismari says he is hearing Gaddafi is trying to enter into a dialogue with tribal leaders.

1152 Both UK airlines British Airways and BMI have cancelled their flights from London's Heathrow to Tripoli on Tuesday because of the security situation. Both the BA and BMI planes usually return the same day from Tripoli to London, therefore there are no BA and BMI flights out of Libya on Tuesday. British Airways have advised passengers to rebook for another day or try re-routing via another airline.

1149 More from the BBC's Frank Gardner on the Gaddafi regime's staying power: "It's tempting to see the current standoff in terms of just one man and his family hanging on as his powerbase collapses beneath him. But there are a number of powerful individuals in Libya whose power, prestige, livelihood and ultimately their survival depends on the survival of his regime. Their vested interest... is born out of fear of the alternative. If he goes or his regime collapses, where would they flee? Which country would take them?... Gaddafi's days are definitely numbered, but his supporters seem determined not to relinquish power without a fight."

1140 After rating agency Fitch downgraded Libya's credit rating on Monday, it is now the turn of another agency, Standard and Poor's, to cut Libya's rating from A- to BBB+, saying the unrest against Col Gaddafi is likely to persist and may get worse over the next three months.

1134 The French foreign ministry has said it is sending three air force planes to Tripoli to evacuate its nationals whose presence is "not necessary".

1132 There are around 50,000 Bangladeshis working in Libya, according to official figures, many of them working for foreign construction firms. Speaking to the BBC, Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said preparations were under way to evacuate its nationals: "Definitely, to begin with, to safer places and if [it] is necessary to evacuate them from the country, then we will have to because, as a government, we have to take steps to ensure that our people who are there - that they are safe."

1124Other foreign workers are struggling to keep safe or leave Libya: On Monday, a Bangladeshi worker in the port city of Darnah, east of Benghazi, said as many as 2,500 foreign workers had been placed under house arrest by anti-government protesters. Speaking to the BBC Bengali service, Shafiyuddin Biswas, who works for a South Korean construction company, said: "There are around 2,000 people working in this unit, including people from Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. But we have been kept in buildings for the last three days. There is no drinking water here. We are in a terrible situation."

1119 Noman Benotman is a Libyan national and a senior analyst at the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism think tank in London. In the past, he's had close links to the Gaddafi government, and Col Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam. He spoke to the BBC World Service fresh off the plane from Tripoli: "It is a war you know, it is not just like they are trying to control people protesting in a very civilised way out in the streets. It's been planned to create a war situation, a massacre."

1113 Egypt's stock exchange, which has been closed since 27 January because of the political unrest in the country, has said it will remain shut until next week. The government had announced dates for the resumption of trade several times, but has postponed it again.

1108 More on the Egyptian planes landing in Libya: "Egyptair will also fly four flights to transport Egyptians from Libya and all flights will operate throughout the day," Egypt's foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said, calling on Egyptians wanting to leave Libya to co-ordinate with the embassy.

1106 The EU is ready to lend neighbouring states undergoing democratic reform in its southern Mediterranean rim "nearly 6bn euros" (£5bn), the head of its lending arm is quoted as saying by AFP.

1101 Libya has allowed two Egyptian military aircraft to land in Libya to evacuate Egyptian workers, Egypt's foreign minister was quoted as saying by the state news agency.

1059 Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned Libyan authorities against making the "mistake" of ignoring the people's demands for democracy and freedom: "One must not fall into the mistake of turning a blind eye to the people's demands for democracy and freedoms... Ruthless interventions against those who voice democratic demands will increase the spiral of violence... The spread of growing violence to the whole of Libya is dangerous."

1055 But in another tweet, the BBC's Frank Gardner adds: "Gaddafi not finished yet - remember how everyone wrote off Saddam after Shiite uprising of mar 1991?"
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1046 The BBC's Frank Gardner tweets: "In #Libya it's not just Gaddafi fighting for survival, many individs tied to his regime know they'd be strung up if it falls."
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1035 On the situation in Benghazi, our correspondent says: "People are encouraged. Dr Ahmad Bin Tahir in Benghazi who is fearless of being identified says they have now taken control of the city: 'People have organised themselves to get order back to the city. They have formed committees to run the city.' No presence of the state there, Mr Bin Tahir added. No police, no army and no public figures. Still the army is in control of the suburbs of the city and the airport. Communication is still difficult and any international call is close to impossible."

1025 UK PM David Cameron has said momentous changes are taking place in the Middle East and North Africa, in a speech to the Kuwaiti parliament . Mr Cameron said "history was sweeping" through the region in the wake of the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

1020 A BBC correspondent in Tripoli says there is a heavy army presence in the city and an absence of control around it: "Tuesday morning seems to be quiet after a frightening night. People are intimidated and staying home. Very limited movement in the streets and the city is closed. After words of bombing the city yesterday, people are cautious. Residents of Tripoli have confirmed that areas around the Green Circle where heavily attacked. No confirmation on number of deaths. Yet people seem to be determined to continue."

1010 Libyan Youth Movement tweets: "Cannot get through to any contacts in Libya #Feb17 #Libya"
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1005 According to the Beijing News, looters raided the compound of Huafeng Company, a construction firm, in the eastern city of Ajdabiya on Sunday night. The workers, clutching their passports, plane tickets, food and water, were walking to Tripoli, "several hundred kilometres" away, where they hope to catch a plane to China, the report said.

0957 China has expressed concern over the unrest in Libya, but has held back from condemning Col Gaddafi. China said it was concerned for the safety of Chinese citizens and businesses in the country after some Chinese citizens were injured and businesses damaged in the unrest.

0950 Libyans Revolt tweets: "8 coaches full of #libyans just left for #london protests - we just counted 450 demonstrators. #downingstreet gonna be busy! #libya#feb17"
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0947 More from Navi Pillay: Denouncing the reported use of machine guns, snipers and military planes against civilians in Libya, she said: "Widespread and systematic attacks against the civilian population may amount to crimes against humanity."

0943 UN human rights chief Navi Pillay has called for an international investigation into the violence used by the Libyan authorities to suppress the protests, saying that such "unconscionable" violations must end immediately.

0932 Oil firm Royal Dutch Shell says all its expat employees and their dependants in Libya, involved primarily in the company's exploration activities in the country, have been relocated, and their offices are closed, Reuters reports.

0926 The Israeli ambassador to the UK, Ron Prosor, giving the protests a cautious welcome, says they will hopefully usher democracy in the Middle East: "We hope for the best and anticipate the worst. I think what is unravelling in the Arab world is amazing. At the end of the day, if this would lead to democratic structures in this region, which is so volatile, it's positive for everyone."

0919 Back in Bahrain, the president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights in Manama, Nabil Rejjab, has told the BBC's World Today programme the demonstrators wanted to see all of the prisoners there set free: "It's not clear yet if all of them will be released or some of them. As you know, we have more than 500 political prisoners, which is a political prisoner for every thousand citizens, and more than a quarter of them are children... If not all of them are going to be released, it's not going to satisfy people."

0910 The price of oil has been steadily rising amid the crisis in the oil-rich region, with Opec's benchmark basket of 12 crude oils breaching the $100 barrier on Tuesday morning, the oil cartel has said, while European stock markets have fallen over the crisis.

0904 Hesham Youssef, a spokesman for Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa, told the BBC World Service's World Today programme the organisation had already condemned the violence, and that he expected the league to agree to put pressure on Libya to end the violence and allow people to stage peaceful protests: "I hope to be able to report to you after the meeting that things have gone in a direction that would allow these civilians to continue their demonstrations and present their demands to see how these demands can be met in a peaceful way."

0853 The runways at Libya's Benghazi airport have been destroyed in the country's violence and planes cannot land, the Egyptian foreign minister is quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

0850 The Egyptian army is to bolster its military presence on the border with Libya in response to an influx of refugees and the evacuation of Egyptian nationals, AFP news agency quotes Egyptian security sources as saying.

0830 The Arab League is also due to meet later on Tuesday to discuss events in Libya. Permanent representatives of its 22 members will convene at 1500 GMT - at about the same time as the UN Security Council is due to discuss Libya in New York.

0810 More on the UN Security Council due to be held later on Tuesday: it will meet in closed session to discuss the Libyan crisis. It'll be the first time the council has met in direct response to the protests sweeping through the Arab world. The meeting was called by the deputy Libyan ambassador to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbashi, who has urged international intervention to protect the Libyan people from what he called a genocide by the authorities. He also said Col Muammar Gaddafi should be put on trial.

0800Welcome 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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