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  Africa, Mideast protests - Arab League to hold summit on Libya

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PostSubject: Africa, Mideast protests - Arab League to hold summit on Libya   Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:23 pm

N. Africa, Mideast protests - Arab League to hold summit on Libya
Across the Middle East and North Africa, CNN's reporters and iReporters
are covering protests, many of them inspired by revolts in Tunisia and
Egypt that toppled those countries' longtime rulers. Check out our story
explaining the roots of the unrest in each country. Have a story to
tell from the scene? Click here to send an iReport.

Developments on unrest in the Middle East and North Africa:

LIBYA, 4:54 p.m. ET, 11:54 p.m. local: Video on YouTube shows what CNN
is told are six badly burned bodies of Libyan soldiers in open body
bags. Opposition sources in Libya say the bodies are of soldiers who
refused to shoot at anti-government demonstrators. The video, taken on a
cell phone, was posted on Monday; it is not known when it was taken.

Read this post for more information and a link to the video.

LIBYA, 4:31 p.m. ET, 11:31 p.m. local: A woman in Tripoli, speaking on
condition of anonymity, reports seeing people shooting - in an
apparently random fashion - from cars. "I've seen myself red Hyundai
cars with tinted windows that had armed people inside it shooting random
people," she told CNN in a telephone interview. "Three victims have
fallen in the street where I live."

CNN could not independently confirm this report. The Libyan government
maintains tight control on communications and has not responded to
repeated requests from CNN for access to the country. CNN has
interviewed numerous witnesses by phone.

LIBYA, 4:25 p.m. ET, 11:25 p.m. local: A Libyan diplomatic source has
denied the Libyan air force was conducting air raids against protesters
in Libya. Earlier, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, an
opposition group, said helicopter gunships were firing into crowds.

LIBYA, 4:01 p.m. ET, 11:01 p.m. local: The Arab League will hold an
urgent summit Tuesday to discuss the recent developments in Libya,
Egypt's official news agency MENA reported Monday.

ZIMBABWE, 3:53 p.m. ET: Zimbabwe isn't part of either North Africa or
the Middle East, but a recent development there has links to the North
African/Middle Eastern unrest. Police in Zimbabwe have arrested dozens
of political activists and trade union members on suspicion of plotting
an Egyptian-style uprising in the southern African country.

BAHRAIN, 3:43 p.m. ET, 11:43 p.m. local: Mass protests planned in
Bahrain for Tuesday in support of calls for political reforms coincide
with the planned return of Hassan Mushaimaa, who is the leader of
Bahrain's largest opposition party, the Haq Movement.

Thousands more people moved into Bahrain's Pearl Roundabout on Monday
ahead of Tuesday's planned mass demonstrations. Meanwhile, fallout from
last week's violent protests continues. A 20-year-old protester in
Bahrain, who was shot in the head on Friday, has died, hospital sources
said Monday.

LIBYA, 3:41 p.m. ET, 10:41 p.m. local: CNN is checking reports that
helicopters in Libya fired on protesters. The National Front for the
Salvation of Libya, an opposition group, has said helicopter gunships
were firing into crowds.

LIBYA, 3:29 p.m. ET, 10:29 p.m. local: Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi
still is in Libya, a Libyan diplomatic source told CNN. The source also
denied the Libyan air force was conducting air raids against protesters
in Libya.

Separately, a senior official in the Italian secret service also said
that Gadhafi remains in Libya. Earlier today, British Foreign Secretary
William Hague told Reuters that Libyan leader Gadhafi may have been on
his way to Venezuela.

SUDAN, 3:24 p.m. ET, 11:24 p.m. local: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir
says he will not run for re-election four years from now, a senior
member of the country's ruling National Congress Party announced Monday.

"He will also leave his post as chair of the NCP to allow for the
transformation of power to a new generation," said Rabi Abd al-Ati. The
senior NCP member rejected the notion that al-Bashir's decision was
prompted by popular uprisings in the region, including neighboring

LIBYA, 2:15 p.m. ET, 9:15 p.m. local: Two Libyan Air Force pilots
defected to Malta on Monday after being asked to bomb Libyan citizens, a
Maltese government source said. The pilots' fighter jets were armed
with rockets and loaded machine guns, the source said. Malta is a short
flight from Libya.

LIBYA, 2:04 p.m. ET, 11:04 p.m. local: Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi
Mahmudi met in Tripoli with ambassadors of the European Union, blaming
the unrest in the country on "terrorists and destructive plans" and
stressing that Libya has the right to "take any measures" to protect its
unity, stability, people and resources, Libyan state television

LIBYA, 1:19 p.m. ET, 8:19 p.m. local: Libyan helicopter gunships are
firing into crowds of protesters, according to the National Front for
the Salvation of Libya, an opposition group. CNN was unable to confirm
the report independently.

LIBYA, 12:45 p.m. ET, 7:45 p.m. local: Oil company Total says it will
evacuate most of its expatriate employees and their families from Libya.
Shell said it has temporarily relocated the families of expatriate

LIBYA, 12:30 p.m. ET, 7:30 p.m. local: The U.S. State Department has
ordered family members of U.S. Embassy employees and non-emergency
personnel to leave Libya.

LIBYA, 12:26 p.m. ET, 7:26 p.m. local: Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya's deputy
ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters that Libyan leader
Moammar Gadhafi has declared war on the Libyan people and is committing
genocide. Who is Gadhafi?

YEMEN, 12:17 p.m. ET, 8:17 p.m. local: Two human rights organizations,
including Human Rights Watch, are reporting that 12 people have died as a
result of protests in Yemen.

LIBYA, 12:02 ET, 7:02 p.m. local: British Foreign Secretary William
Hague told Reuters that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi may be on his way
to Venezuela. CNN has not confirmed. Gadhafi has maintained power in the
country for 42 years. The Libyan ambassador to the UK, Omar Jelban, is
denying that Gadhafi is on his way to Venezuela.

LIBYA, noon ET, 7 p.m. local: U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had
talked with Gadhafi, saying he was deeply concern about the violence,
and that it must stop. At least 233 people have been killed in the
protests, according to Human Rights Watch. Its report cites information
from hospital sources. CNN is not able to independently confirm the
figure, as the network has not been granted access to report on the

Google has designed this map of protests based on what it calls
"reliable tweets." Personal up-to-the-minute audio reports have been
uploaded on Google here. CNN has not yet vetted these reports.

LIBYA, 11:45 a.m. ET, 6:45 p.m. local The government is demanding that
citizens cooperate with security forces, and warning "organized gangs,"
Libyan state television reported, as security forces conduct raids on
what it called "nests of terror and sabotage." Libya's justice minister,
Mustafa Abdul Jalil, has resigned to protest the "bloody situation and
use of excessive force" against protesters by security forces, a Libyan
newspaper reported. Meanwhile, two Libyan fighter jets have landed in
Malta, according to journalists at the airport.

YEMEN, 11 a.m. ET, 7 p.m. local: It is the 11th day of protests. More
than 3,500 gathered in the capital Sanaa for a peaceful demonstration,
but violence broke out in Aden as police fired on demonstrators. CNN's
Mohammed Jamjoom reports what the Yemeni government doesn't want anyone
to see.
Journalists were not allowed entry into hospitals where wounded students
were taken, and Jamjoom shows you how difficult it is for reporters to
get the truth about what youths have been calling their movement. Yemeni
President Ali Abdullah Saleh refuses to step down and compared
anti-government protests in his country to the flu spreading through the
region. "This is a virus and is not part of our heritage or the culture
of the Yemeni people," he told reporters.

LIBYA, 11 a.m. ET, 6 p.m. local: As reports streamed of protesters
setting fire to a government building in Libya's capital and ransacking
state TV headquarters, questions swirled around Gadhafi and whether he
could be the third Arab leader toppled by the wave of protests rippling
through the region. His son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, is trying to defend
the family dynasty, warning on state television of "a fierce civil war"
if the demonstrations don't halt. Who is the Western educated son of
Gadhafi? What could Libya's uprising mean in the long term, CNN
commentator Kirk Vandewalle asks. He wrote "A History of Modern Libya."

Here's a Monday morning breifing on protests in some of the nations in the region:

IRAQ - Unlike other nations, protests here have not targeted the
government. Demonstrators are enraged by corruption, the quality of
basic services and high unemployment. Most recently, on Sunday, A
17-year-old boy died and 39 people were injured were injured as
demonstrators battled Kurdish security forces in Sulaimaniya in northern
Iraq, officials said. CNN's Reza Sayah reports from Islamabad,
Pakistan, on the violence. Masked gunmen attacked and burned an
independent television station in Iraq's Kurdistan region Sunday,
wounding a guard, police officials and the broadcast company said.

ALGERIA – Protests began in January over escalating food prices, high
rates of unemployment and housing issues, and iReporters were there.
Rallies started in Algiers, but spread to other cities as more people
joined. Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced that he would
lift the state of emergency law in what analysts said was an attempt to
head off a similar revolt.

DJIBOUTI - Protesters in Djibouti are angry about the economy. The
country is home to Camp Lemonnier, the only U.S. military base on the
African continent. Protesters have called for President Ismail Omar
Guelleh - whose family has ruled the country since its independence from
France in 1977 - to step down ahead of the elections scheduled in

JORDAN - Jordan's economy is struggling as commodity prices rise and
youth unemployment is high, as it is in Egypt. Its king has called for
swift reform.

KUWAIT - Protests are relatively new, beginning over the weekend.
Demonstrators, who want greater rights for longtime residents who are
not citizens, attacked security forces late last week.

SUDAN - Protesters are demanding an end to National Congress Party rule
and government-imposed price increases. A "Day of Rage" was reportedly
organized on Facebook against the government, but it failed to
materialize. Human Rights Watch says authorities used "excessive force"
during largely peaceful protests on January 30 and 31 in Khartoum and
other northern cities. Witnesses said that several people were arrested,
including 20 who remain missing.

TUNISIA - An uprising in Tunisia prompted autocratic President Zine El
Abidine Ben Ali to leave the country on January 14, after weeks of
demonstrations. Those demonstrations sparked protests around North
Africa and the Middle East.

PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES – Hundreds of Palestinians rallied for unity in
Ramallah, calling on Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian political
factions to heal their rifts amid arguments over elections scheduled for
September in the Palestinian territories. "Division generates
corruption," was one of several slogans written on banners held up by
the demonstrators Thursday, who flooded the streets after calls went out
on social networking sites, as well as schools and university campuses,
for them to attend.

SYRIA – As protests heated up around the region, the Syrian government
pulled back from a plan to withdraw some subsidies that keep the cost of
living down in the country. President Bashar al-Assad also gave a rare
interview to Western media, telling The Wall Street Journal last month
that he planned reforms that would allow local elections and included a
new media law and more power for private organizations.
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