Libya opposition forces take control of more towns

Libyan opposition forces, with the help of troops who joined the protesters, are tightening the noose around Gaddafi by taking more town today. Gulf News reports that the opposition is now controlling 90 percent of the country. Meanwhile, Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have decided to take a different course by releasing political prisoners, calling for dialogue, and other positive measures to prevent uprising. In Algeria, the regime has lifted the 19-year-old state of emergency yesterday and announced greater freedom and reform. Bahrain has released 250 prisoners of conscience today.

(Gulf News) — Early yesterday, security forces loyal to Sa’edi, Gaddafi’s son, encircled Sirte, blocking the coastal highway and another highway linking Libya’s eastern and western regions. “Tanks and manned armoured vehicles have cut the coastal and the inside road linking east with the west. Sirte is the last stronghold of the man since his tribe lives in the city,” Fateh Al Talhouni, member of the revolutionary committee in Misurata told Gulf News. So far, protesters have claimed control of 90 per cent of Libya, including most of the capital Tripoli and major cities such as Benghazi, Baida, Tobruk, Misurata, Zawiya and Zantan. Guards loyal to Gaddafi have fled from checkposts on the Egyptian border and tribal elders have formed local committees to take their place.

(CBS) — CBS News’ Mandy Clark describes the scene in Libya after entering the country through Egypt: I’m across the border in Libya. We’re heading to Tobruk. Right now there’s a man passing me holding two old Libyan flags, which are pre-Qaddafi era. And he’s giving the sign of victory, and that’s what we’re seeing all over since we’ve got into Libya – people welcoming us to a free Libya. We’ve been offered rides to anywhere we want to go. People want news crews in here to report what’s happening. They’re offering as many people as they can lift to get to where they need to go. Entering here was quite difficult – going through on the Egyptian side, there were layers upon layers of security. And they certainly made you feel that you weren’t going to get into Libya. But, after you had passed the last Egyptian checkpoint, you headed to the Libyan one. There was kind of a rag-tag militia with mismatching uniforms. They were deeply friendly; they kept on saying “welcome, welcome.” When they asked who we were with, we said “CBS America.”
They said, “Welcome CBS. Welcome all international media.” And they drove us. They’re offering free lifts. The people and the mood certainly is jubilant. It’s not a new liberation flag, it’s actually the Libyan flag before Qaddafi. It’s the old Libyan flag, and people are waving it as a sign to show that the old Libya is back and that Qaddafi is gone.

FORUM | AMHARIC