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The battle for Tripoli

Gabriela Pomeroy | 09:42 UK time, Friday, 25 February 2011


This topic was discussed on World Have Your Say on 25 February 2011. Listen to the programme

Colonel Gaddafi has lost his grip on much of the country but he still seems to be in control in Tripoli. Opposition leaders are calling for major protests in the capital today, and residents say mercenaries are moving in for the final battle.

The BBC's Middle East live page has all the latest updates and the Libya Feb 17 blog is collecting eyewitness accounts and videos by Libyans on the ground.



 We're on BBC World TV today at 1500 GMT. How should the world respond to the mass killings? Barak Obama, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy will discuss a no-fly zone and sanctions today. The UK and France plan to ask the UN for a Libyan arms embargo and financial sanctions.

The New York Times says these must happen before thousands are slaughtered, and the Irish Times says the world must not sit back. The UK's Guardian newspaper argues that ground intervention might be an option. And the Minneapolis Star Tribune says leaders around the world can determine how many people die.

But Russia says sanctions would be pointless. And the reaction from Latin American leaders is mixed. Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, has backed Muammar Gaddafi on Twitter. Chavez tweeted: "Gaddafi is facing a civil war. Long live Libya. Long live the independence of Libya." How do you want your country to respond? Can the outside world make a difference to how many people die in Libya ? Post your comments here.

An anonymous Tripoli resident has told BBC Network Africa:

"People are locked in, the city is under siege, that's without a doubt, Tripoli is under siege right now. People are scared and the panic is spreading by phone. We have families who are not allowed to take the bodies of the deceased, right, unless they sign papers declaring they were shot by the opposition to the current regime. There haven 't been funerals going on where obviously if you don't have a body you don't have a funeral."

A doctor who has just arrived from Libya to the UK has told the Libya Feb 17 blog:

"A massacre and a crime against humanity are currently going on in Libya. There have been deaths of at least 50-70 civilians arriving to different hospitals in Tripoli every night. I am a doctor at Sheffield Northern General Hospital and have personally seen bodies with bullet wounds to the head, neck and chest.

Eyewitness reports from people I have spoken to personally are that security forces are turning up in hospitals, threatening doctors and forcing them to treat pro-government supporters and neglect demonstrators, at gun-point. There are incidents where blood bags have been ripped prior to transfusions so that injured supporters don't receive treatment. There are cases of sabotage. Corpses are being removed from hospital before being identified and not being returned. There are reports that ambulances carrying the injured are being stopped and patients being executed."

Yesterday Colonel Gaddafi said the rebels were on drugs. The New Yorker talks to people who met Gaddafi in the past and thought he was on drugs. Life magazine has compiled a list of his "craziest quotes".


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