U.S. Will Impose Sanctions on Libya In Response To Gaddafi Regime Violence
UPDATE 12:00 p.m. PST: The U.S. is moving forward with plans to impose sanctions on Libya, the White House announced Friday afternoon.
The Washington Post reports: "Obama spokesman Jay Carney says the U.S. is finalizing that process Friday. He says the U.S. is also working with European partners on additional sanctions and other multilateral actions that could be taken."
Col. Moammar Gaddafi addressed a crowd of supporters in Green Square on Friday, according to The Guardian.
"We will continue to fight. We will defeat them. We will die here on Libyan soil," the longtime Libyan dictator reportedly told the crowd in the address, which was carried on state television. He also said: "If my people and the Arab people don't love Gaddafi I don't deserve to live."
The Guardian reported:
"Life without dignity is hopeless," Gaddafi says. He appeared at the top of a wall beside the square. The crowd massed there appear to be all Gaddafi supporters, waving green flags and chanting.
"You the youth, dance, sing, stay up all night, live a life of dignity," the Libyan leader orders, gesticulating enthusiastically.
"Dance and sing, joy and rejoice."
The pictures are from Libyan state TV. The cameraman self-consciously just focused on a clock, presumably in a bid to prove the images are live.
On Thursday, the besieged Libyan dictator made an erratic and threatening speech comparing himself to the Queen of England as insurgent forces closed in around him and his supporters bunkered into the capital of Tripoli.
Meanwhile, protesters looking to oust Gaddafi have captured the port city of Brega and its oil terminal, CNN reported on Friday morning.
Opposition forces in Libya have also moved closer to Tripoli as the violence in that country continues to escalate. Militias loyal to Gaddafi opened fire on thousands protesters who were streaming out of mosques after prayers on Friday and demanding the regime's ouster, according to witnesses.
The New York Times reported:
The protesters refused to back down, witnesses told news services and the opposition reported on websites, and clashes continued in parts of the city. Rebel leaders said they were sending forces from nearby cities and other parts of the country to join the fight.
The renewed violence came even as the government prepared to open Tripoli for the first time to foreign journalists to demonstrate what Colonel Qaddafi and his sons had described as a return normal life there. Some witnesses, in telephone interviews with news services, said that several people had been wounded and killed.
The Associated Press reported:
In the capital's Souq al-Jomaa district, protesters came under fire from gunmen on rooftops as they tried to march to Tripoli's central Green Square, several miles (kilometers) away. "There are all kind of bullets," said one man in the crowd, screaming in a telephone call to The Associated Press, with the rattle of gunfire audible in the background.
One witness reported seeing three protesters killed in Souq al-Jomaa, and another reported a fourth death in the district of Fashloum, where another rally was trying to march to the center. The reports could not be immediately confirmed.
Gunmen opened a hail of bullets on thousands heading toward the center from Tajoura, a crowded impoverished district on the eastern side of the capital, a participant said.
Friday loomed as decisive as opposition forces said they were determined to make a final push to oust the dictator on the traditional Arab day of prayer. The anti-government demonstrators had planned to take to the streets of the Libyan capital on Friday despite threats of violence from the regime.
At a United Nations meeting in Geneva and at an Arab League meeting in Friday, Libyan diplomats announced they would no longer represent the Gaddafi regime and would represent the free Libyan people instead.
The Los Angeles Times reported:
Envoy Adel Shaltut told a gathering of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva that the entire Libyan delegation to the world body office had switched allegiance, stirring applause among the diplomats meeting in emergency session to consider how to halt the violence gripping Libya.
"We in the Libyan mission have categorically decided to serve as representatives of the Libyan people and their free will," Shaltut announced.
The United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday condemned Libya's government for its crackdown on the demonstrators.