Timeline: Libya's uprising against Muammar Gaddafi

Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:20am EDT

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(Reuters) - Here is a timeline on the revolt in Libya since the first protests began last month

Feb 15/16 - A riot in Benghazi is triggered by the arrest of human rights activist Fethi Tarbel, who has worked to free political prisoners, Quryna newspaper says.

February 17 - Activists designate this day as a day of rage. It is the anniversary of clashes in 2006 in Benghazi when security forces killed protesters attacking the city's Italian consulate.

Feb 21 - Diplomats at Libya's mission to the U.N. side with the revolt against their country's leader and call on the Libyan army to help overthrow "the tyrant Muammar Gaddafi."

February 22 - A defiant Gaddafi vows to die "a martyr" in Libya and says he will crush a revolt which has seen eastern regions break free from four decades of his rule.

February 24 - Anti-Libyan government militias take control of Misrata after evicting forces loyal to Gaddafi.

February 26 - The U.N. Security Council imposes sanctions on Gaddafi and his family, and refers Libya's crackdown on rebels to the International Criminal Court.

February 28 - EU governments approve a package of sanctions against Gaddafi and his closest advisers including an arms embargo and bans on travel to the bloc. The 27 EU states also agree to freeze the assets of Gaddafi, his family and government.

-- Gaddafi refuses to acknowledge the protests in the streets of Tripoli, saying all Libyans love him.

March 1 - The U.N. General Assembly unanimously suspends Libya's membership in the U.N. Human Rights Council because of violence by forces loyal to Gaddafi against protesters.

March 5 - The national council meets in Benghazi and declares itself sole representative for Libya.

March 9 - Gaddafi repeats earlier claims that the revolt is inspired by foreign al Qaeda militants.

March 10 - Warplanes sent by forces loyal to Gaddafi bomb the oil town of Brega, extending attacks deeper into rebel-held territory in the east of Libya, rebels report.

-- Gaddafi takes back control of Zawiyah, about 50 km (30 miles) west of Tripoli.

-- France recognizes the Libyan National Council, the rebel body fighting to oust Gaddafi, as the legitimate representative of Libya's people, the first country to make the move.

March 11 - Libya suspends diplomatic relations with France.

March 12 - The Arab League calls for a U.N. no-fly zone over Libya. A meeting in Cairo decides that "serious crimes and great violations" committed by the Gaddafi government against his people have stripped it of legitimacy.

March 16 - Forces loyal to Gaddafi are near rebel-held Benghazi and "everything will be over in 48 hours," Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam tells France-based TV channel Euronews.

March 17 - The U.N. Security Council votes to authorize a no-fly zone over Libya and "all necessary measures" -- code for military action -- to protect civilians against Gaddafi's forces.

March 19 - The first air strikes halt the advance of Gaddafi's forces on Benghazi and target Libya's air defenses.

-- Gaddafi says there is no justification for a U.N. resolution aimed at ending violence in Libya and calls it "blatant colonialism," al Jazeera reports.

March 20 - Libya declares a fresh ceasefire contradicting a defiant speech by Gaddafi earlier in the day in which he said he is giving out weapons to his people.

March 21 - Western forces launch a second wave of air strikes on Libya overnight and officials in Tripoli say a missile intended to kill Gaddafi destroys a building in his fortified compound.

-- A Libyan government health official says 64 people are killed by Western bombardments, but it is impossible to verify the report independently.

March 22 - Western warplanes fly more than 300 sorties over Libya and fired more than 162 Tomahawk cruise missiles in the mission to protect Libyan civilians.

-- "We will not surrender," Gaddafi tells supporters forming a human shield to protect him at his Tripoli compound. "This assault ... is by a bunch of fascists who will end up in the dustbin of history," Gaddafi says in his first public appearance since the air strikes began.

-- Admiral Samuel Locklear, head of U.S. forces enforcing the no-fly zone, says Gaddafi and his forces have not complied with the U.N. resolution demanding an end to attacks on civilians.

March 23 - Government forces continue to shell the rebel-held town of Misrata, killing dozens. They also are attacking the town of Zintan near the Tunisian border.

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