Tripoli, Libya: Britons Urged To Flee As Bloody Repression Of Anti-Government Protests Intensifies

26 Feb

Any Britons remaining in the Libyan capital Tripoli have been urged to head for the airport to get on the final Government-chartered rescue flight as the bloody repression of anti-regime protests intensifies.

Video: Gaddafi Urges Followers To Defend Libya

Video: Libya: Gaddafi Forces ‘Open Fire’ In Tripoli

Video: Libya: Gaddafi Rages As World Talks Continue

Remaining Britons urged to flee Enlarge photo
 
Foreign Secretary William Hague said it was “very important” for anyone still caught up in the violent chaos to get on board if possible – as some of those landing back in the UK on Friday night last night described the violence as a “living hell”.

Mr Hague also insisted that “a lot of work” was under way on plans to extract up to 170 UK oil workers stranded in remote and highly vulnerable desert locations across the North African state.

“There are now very few British nationals remaining in Tripoli. It’s very important that those that remain go to the airport, that they do so at first light,” he said.

The advice came as the international community was urged by the UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon to act quickly to prevent further bloodshed in Libya – at the start of a Security Council meeting to discuss sanctions against Muammar Gaddafi‘s regime.

Britain is pushing for an arms embargo, a travel ban and asset freeze and a war crimes investigation into the crackdown on demonstrators which appears to be reaching new heights of brutality – with the UN Secretary suggesting 1,000 or more had died.

“The loss of time means more loss of lives”, he said. Security Council talks will resume on Saturday with a vote possible before the close of play. The US has announced it will impose sanctions.

The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva also passed a resolution calling for an unprecedented suspension of Libya from its membership. Mr Hague and foreign counterparts including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are due to discuss the situation at the HRC but not until Monday.

Libyan protesters were reported to have come under a hail of gunfire – some from anti-aircraft guns – after Mr Gaddafi issued a fresh rallying cry to his supporters, this time from the ramparts of a historic fort in the capital.

One of his sons, Saif, said their only plan was “to live and die in Libya”. He also told foreign journalists invited in by the regime that trouble was restricted to two western cities, denied reports of artillery being used against protesters and said he hoped dissent could be dealt with “peacefully”.

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