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Timeline: Libya's uprising against Muammar Gaddafi

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

Feb 15/16, 2011 - A riot in Benghazi is triggered by the arrest of human rights activist Fethi Tarbel, who has worked to free political prisoners, Quryna newspaper reports.

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.

February 21 - Diplomats at Libya’s mission to the United Nations 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.

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

March 1 - The U.N. General Assembly unanimously suspends Libya’s membership of the U.N. Human Rights Council.

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

March 10 - France recognizes the Libyan National Council, the rebel body fighting to oust Gaddafi, as the legitimate representative of Libya’s people. Libya suspends diplomatic relations with France the next day.

March 16 - Forces loyal to Gaddafi are near rebel-held Benghazi. Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam tells France-based TV channel Euronews: “Everything will be over in 48 hours.”

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 army.

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

March 22 - “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.

March 28 - Qatar becomes the first Arab country to recognize Libya’s rebels as the people’s legitimate representative.

March 29 - A London conference of 40 governments and international organisations agrees to set up a contact group comprising 20 countries to coordinate political efforts on a post-Gaddafi Libya.

March 30 - Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa defects and flies to Britain.

April 3 - Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Abdelati Obeidi visits Greece looking for a political solution to the crisis.

April 10 - Gaddafi accepts a roadmap for ending the conflict, South African President Jacob Zuma says after leading a delegation of four African leaders at talks in Tripoli.

April 11 - Rebels reject an African Union peace plan as it does not address their main demand that Gaddafi quit and it proposes reforming a ruling system they want removed.

April 13 - Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini says his country no longer has any relations with the government in western Libya.

April 20 - Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam, speaking on state television, says that the government will prevail over the rebels and a new constitution is ready for when the insurgency is defeated.

April 29 - Gaddafi, in a live speech, says he is ready for a ceasefire and negotiations, provided NATO “stops its planes.”

April 30 - A NATO missile attack on a house in Tripoli kills Gaddafi’s youngest son and three grandchildren. The Libyan leader survives the attack but has not been seen since.

May 1 - Libya says it regrets the attacks on several embassies saying its police force was overpowered by crowds angered by the NATO strike that killed Gaddafi’s son.

May 5 - Ministers from the anti-Gaddafi Libya contact group, among them the U.S., France, Britain and Italy, Qatar, Kuwait and Jordan, agree in Rome to set up a non-military fund to help the rebels, who are short of cash.

-- Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim condemns attempts to use frozen assets to help the rebels.

May 6 - Indiscriminate attacks by loyalist forces in Misrata may amount to war crimes, Amnesty International says.

May 7 - Government forces destroy fuel storage tanks in Misrata, rebels report, making it more difficult for the city to withstand the government siege.

May 9 - Oil payments for Libyan rebels selling crude oil are being made through a Qatari trust fund in U.S. dollars, a member of the oil and gas support group for Libya says. Around 1 million barrels have been sold at $100 million so far.

May 10 - NATO launches new missile strikes against targets in the Tripoli area that appear to include Gaddafi’s compound, witnesses say.