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[UPDATE] Protests in Libya

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

[UPDATE] 2-20 9:45 PM--

CAIRO (AP) -- The son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi says his father is in the country and backed by the army.

Appearing on Libyan state television early Monday morning, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi said: "We will fight to the last minute, until the last bullet."

Earlier he said protesters have seized control of some military bases, weapons and tanks and he warned of civil war in the country that would burn its oil wealth.

He offered to put forward reforms within days that he described as a "historic national initiative." He said the regime was willing to remove some restrictions and to begin a discussion of the constitution. He offered to change a number of laws, including those covering the media.

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[UPDATE] 2-20 6:38 PM --

CAIRO (AP) -- The son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi says protesters have seized control of some military bases and tanks.

Appearing on Libyan state television Sunday night, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi warned of civil war in the country that would burn its oil wealth.

He also acknowledged that the army made mistakes during protests because troops were not prepared to battle demonstrators.

He offered to put forward reforms within days that he described as a "historic national initiative." He said the regime was willing to remove some restrictions and to begin a discussion of the constitution. He offered to change a number of laws, including those covering the media.
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- United Nations ambassador Susan Rice says Arab and Muslim leaders facing pro-democracy protests need to lead the
way rather than resist reform.

Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," Rice condemned violent crackdowns against demonstrators in Libya, Algeria and Yemen. Italy
says Libyan authorities are considering constitutional changes as they try to cope with a week of unrest.

Meanwhile, the State Department is urging U.S. citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Libya because of the continuing clashes between protesters and security forces, which so far have led to at least 200 deaths.

The travel warning also cautions citizens already in Libya against traveling to eastern Libya, where many of the protests are taking place.

Demonstrators have not targeted Westerners, but the U.S. warns that even peaceful demonstrations could "quickly become unruly" and foreigners could be subject to harassment or worse.

The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli is offering to help citizens leave the cities of Benghazi, Ajdabiya, Al-Bayda, Al Marj, Derna and Tobruk.
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CAIRO (AP) -- Libyan forces have been firing machine-guns at thousands of mourners marching in a funeral for anti-government protesters in the eastern city of Benghazi again today.

The scene is a repeat of yesterday, when commandos and foreign mercenaries loyal to longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi attacked demonstrators with assault rifles and other heavy weapons.

Fifteen were killed yesterday, while a doctor at a hospital where many of the casualties are being taken says 20 people have died today. Earlier, he said the morgue at his hospital had received at least 200 bodies since the unrest began several days ago.

Libya's crackdown is shaping up to be the most brutal repression of anti-government protests that began with uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. The protests have spread around the region to Bahrain in the Gulf, impoverished Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula, Tunisia's North African neighbors -- Libya, Algeria, Morocco -- and outside the Middle East to places including the East African nation of Djibouti and even China.


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