Tripoli/Cairo: Libya slipped further into chaos Friday
with protesters fighting for the ouster of strongman Muammar
Gaddafi regrouping and angry mourners gathering for funerals of
the victims of the unrest, prompting a worried Russian President
Dmitry Medvedev to say the country was on the brink of civil war.
The ripples of the uprising in Libya spread to the London School
of Economics (LSE) with the director resigning over links to the
The Arab world also saw sectarian clashes flaring up in Bahrain, a
protester being killed in Yemen and elections being announced in
The oil-rich North African country of Libya was tense following
the two weeks of violence that has left between 3,000-6,000 people
dead and forced about 140,000 people to flee. Though the capital
Tripoli is still in Gaddafi's control, many key towns,
particularly in the east, have been overtaken by the rebels.
Funerals were held for those who fell victim to the fierce battle
between troops loyal to 68-year-old Gaddafi and the demonstrators.
Al Jazeera said the funerals took place as rebels regrouped to
fight potential attacks Friday, a day after air strikes took place
on Brega town. The security forces did not succeed in dislodging
Rebel reinforcements from the east of the country have reportedly
begun to arrive in the town of Ajdabiya.
Witnesses in Libya's third largest city, Misurata, said they aim
to have a one-million-strong march and that some of them would
head for Tripoli, DPA said.
In Tripoli, Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi denied reports of
air strikes in the capital city, saying "show me a single attack,
one drop, one attack...."
"Everything is legitimate and allowed if it is for the people and
the peace and security of the country," Saif added.
Russian President Medvedev said Libya was fast moving towards
"Libya has been and is on the brink of a civil war, and our task
was to save the lives of our citizens (there)," RIA Novosti quoted
Medvedev as saying.
The Libyan crisis had an unexpected fallout with LSE director
Howard Davies resigning over the institute's links to Gaddafi's
Davies said the university's reputation had "suffered" and so he
had to quit, BBC reported Friday.
Stating that the decision to accept 300,000 pounds for research
from a foundation run by Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam,
"backfired", Davies regretted visiting Libya to advise its regime
about financial reforms.
Saif Gaddafi had studied at the LSE for his MSc and PhD.
The rest of the Arab world was also on the boil.
In Yemen, tens of thousands of anti-government protesters gathered
in front of Sana'a university in the capital, calling for the
ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
One protester was killed and another injured when the army fired
at a protest in the northern province of Amran, officials said
In Tunisia, which saw the first of the uprisings that have swept
the Arab world, interim leader Fouad Mebazaa announced nationwide
polls to elect a constitutional council on July 24.
BBC reported that the council would be tasked with rewriting the
country's constitution, adopted in 1959.
Mebazaa said that "contrary to what has been rumoured", he and the
interim government will stay in power "until the elections are
held, with the help and support of all".
Protests swept Tunisia in mid-December, forcing President Zine El
Abidine Ben Ali, who had ruled the North African country for 23
years, to flee to Saudi Arabia.
In Bahrain, sectarian clashes flared up late Thursday and hundreds
of Shiites and recently naturalized Sunni Arabs fought in Hamad
Town south of the Bahraini capital Manama.
Swords, wooden sticks and rocks were used in the street battle,
leaving at least eight people injured.
"Both sides were at each others throats, and they even attacked
police as they tried to get the crowds away from each other... we
are terrified now of what will happen next," a female resident who
wished not to be named told DPA.