Security forces join protesters
Zawiya, Libya – Anti-government protesters took to the streets today in Libya’s western city of Zawiya – including former security forces who said they have switched sides and joined the opposition.
Some buildings showed signs of damage, including a freshly burnt-out police station.
At least several Libyan cities are now in the control of the opposition, including Zawiya, about 55 kilometers (35 miles) from the capital city of Tripoli.
Leader Moammar Gadhafi’s regime clings to power in Tripoli after weeks of protests.
About 100 000 people have fled violence in Libya in the past week, reports suggest.
The Tunisian government reported Saturday that 40,000 people had crossed its borders since February 20, while Egypt reported 55,000 had crossed over since February 19, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said today. The evacuees include Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans and many from Asian countries.
About 10,000 fled from Libya to Tunisia on Saturday, the Red Crescent said.
“Very large numbers of people amassed in the no man’s land between Libya and Tunisia in extremely cold conditions,” Red Crescent spokesman Joe Lowry told CNN today. “People stood in the queue for six hours with no food, water, or access to sanitation.” The Red Crescent is affiliated with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
At least four people were carried away in stretchers due to crush injuries, and several lost consciousness as a result of the chaos.
“It was very worrying to see women passing their babies in cots over the crowd to keep them from harm,” Lowry said.
Gadhafi has showed no sign of relinquishing his power. Today, the world waited to see whether the threat of sanctions will have any effect on a country where the death toll has reportedly topped 1,000.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Gadhafi “must go.”
“We have here a country descending into civil war with atrocious scenes of killing of protesters and government actually making war on its own people, so of course it is time for Col. Gadhafi to go,” Hague said today, adding that he has revoked the diplomatic immunity in the United Kingdom of Gadhafi and his family.
But Gadhafi’s son, Saif, told CNN’s Nic Robertson today he was confident the regime could survive the unrest and ultimately reunite Libya.
Saif al-Islam Gadhafi — a prominent member of the government — added that he wanted this reunification to be accomplished without violence. (CNN)