Political Unrest in Libya Timeline
February 14–Three days after the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, calls go out on Facebook for peaceful demonstrations in Libya against long-time dictator, Muammar Gadhafi. Gadhaff has ruled over Libya for more than four decades, and had supported theMubarak during the Egyptian uprising.
February 16–Some 200 protestersin the coastal city of Benghazi showed support for human rights activist Fathi Terbil a dissident lawyer. Several protesters are arrested by the police.
February 17–Libya’s state-run media claimes that the government has released 110 political prisoners and that the possibility existed of major changes to the government. Calls are again posted on websites for a “Day of Rage” on the five-year anniversary of the shooting deaths of 14 protesters in 2006 in an Islamist rally in Benghazi. Seven people are killed in clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters.
February 18–Pro-government demonstrators take to the streets in the nation’s capital in support of Gadhafi. Images from state television, labeled as “live,” feature men chanting pro-Gadhafi slogans, waving flags and singing around the Libyan leader’s limousine as it creeps through the capital of Tripoli. In Benghazi, human rights groups and protesters are attacked by pro-government security forces. Of the tens of thousands of protesters who take to the streets, at least 20 are killed and 200 are wounded by security forces firing into the crowds.
February 19–Protests turn more violent. In Benghazi, bloody clashes erupt, with soldiers firing tear gas and bullets at the crowds of protesters. At least 30 people are killed, most of them from gunshot wounds to the head. Protests have erupt in cities across the country, including al-Baida, Ajdabiya and Misratah, where anti-government protesters leaving noon prayers at a local mosque were confronted by crowds supporting oLibyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Human Rights Watch reports that 84 people have been killed in Libyan demonstrations since Tuesday.
February 20–Violence surges in Libya’s second-largest city Benghazi where protesters take control of the city. Anti-government demonstrations also break out in Tripoli, the death toll from six days of unrest has killed at least 219 people nationwide.
February 21–Early on the morning of Monday, February 21, Gadhafi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, appears on state television to warn demonstrators that if their protests do not subside, the country could fall into a civil war.