Updated from 1 p.m. EST with information regarding the United States' plans to impose sanctions on Libya.
NEW YORK (
) -- The United States is moving forward with plans to impose sanctions on Libya, as longtime leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi continues to promote the use of violence to quash civilian uprisings against the government.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said that the United States is working with foreign leaders on the plan, which will likely be finalized by the end of Friday.
The U.S. is seeking to "put pressure on the regime" to stop Gadhafi's continued unacceptable use of "deadly violence," Carney said.
"The intent of the sanctions is to make it clear that the regime has to stop its abuses," Carney said in a press briefing on Friday afternoon. "It has to stop the bloodshed."
In addition, the U.S. has closed its embassy in Tripoli and suspended all embassy operations in Libya,
"The United States is committed to utilizing the full extent of its capabilities to monitor the Gadhafi regime's behavior to ensure that evidence is gathered of further violence or atrocities committed against the Libyan people," Carney said.
Obama will speak with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and France President Nicolas Sarkozy at 8 p.m. EST on Friday to "coordinate our actions in response to the situation in Libya," Carney said. Obama will also meet with the United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon on Monday to discuss the situation in Libya.
Gadhafi appeared in Tripoli's Green Square on Friday to speak to a crowd of his supporters and promote the use of violence to quash civilian uprisings against the government, reports said.
Gadhafi arrived at the square unexpectedly to speak to a group of nearly 1,000 government loyalists on Friday,
"We can defeat any aggression if necessary and arm the people," Gadhafi said. Footage of his address was aired on Libyan state television on Friday. "Retaliate against them, retaliate against them. Dance, sing and prepare. Prepare to defend Libya, to defend the oil, dignity and independence."
"At the suitable time we will open the arms depot so all Libyans and tribes become armed, so that Libya becomes red with fire," he warned,
The Associated Press
The U.N. Human Rights Council held a special session in Geneva on Friday to discuss the Libyan crisis.
Egyptian protesters, holding posters and flags, gathered in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt on Friday in support of the Libyan uprising.
Adel Shaltut, diplomat in the Libyan delegation, renounced his support for Gadhafi's government and said his delegation represented the "free will" of the Libyan people,
"We in the Libyan mission have categorically decided to serve as representatives of the Libyan people and their free will. We only represent the Libyan people," he said before the 47 council members.
"The will of people is invincible, as history has shown. The memory of people is stronger than those of hatchet men," Shaltut said. "Young people in my country today are with their blood writing a new chapter in the history of struggle and resistance."
A number of Libyan envoys, senior officials, embassy staff and members of Libya's armed forces have dropped their support for Gadhafi as well.
The Libyan delegation to the Arab League in Cairo condemned "the heinous crimes against unarmed citizens" on Friday and called on the U.N. Security Council to take "all necessary and urgent action that will prevent the shed of blood and keep the nation united."
"We have joined our people in their legitimate demands for change and the establishment of a democratic system," the delegation said,
The United Nations Security Council is expected to meet Friday afternoon after France and the U.K. asked the group of global leaders to discuss possible sanctions against Libya.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy asked the U.N. Security Council to consider an arms embargo on Libya, as well as an investigation by the International Criminal Court into Gadhafi's inhumane actions,
The Wall Street Journal
"We can't make do with speeches any more, we need to act," French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said on
The violence between protesters and government loyalists escalated after Gadhafi delivered a televised speech on Tuesday in which he called on his supporters to track down and kill protesters who continue to demand his ouster.
By Tuesday night,
and converged in Tripoli's central Green Square, wearing green armbands as Gadhafi had directed. Government supporters, many wielding weapons, drove protesters from the streets with violence, and residents described a state of terror.
Thousands of people, fearing for their lives, have been fleeing Libya into neighboring countries as the rebellion against Gadhafi's authoritarian rule causes chaos around the nation.
Gadhafi's troops still maintain control of the nation's capital city, Tripoli, after using violence to disperse a number of anti-government protests several days ago. However, despite crackdown threats, demonstrators took to social networking sites on Thursday and Friday to organize a mass demonstration in Tripoli after Friday prayers.
As demonstrators took to the streets of Tripoli following midday prayers, security forces reportedly began firing on them, killing at least six rebels, according to
The Associated Press
There was heavy gun fire in a number of Tripoli districts including Fashloum, Ashour, Jumhouria and Souq Al,
reported, citing sources.
"The security forces fired indiscriminately on the demonstrators," a Libya resident was quoted as saying. "There were deaths in the streets of Sug Al Jomaa."
The protests came only a few hours after Libyan state television announced that the government would give each family $400 and raise salaries for state employees as much as 150%, in an attempt to prevent further uprisings.
The Gadhafi opposition was in control of a few major cities in the east of the country by Thursday, including Benghazi and Tobruk,
correspondent in the region reported that at least half of the cities in the east, along Libya's 1,000-mile Mediterranean coast, appeared to be under control by the opposition.
Now rebels are closing in on the capital as Libya's protests seem to be evolving into a "well-armed revolutionary movement,"
The New York Times
In a radio interview on Friday, Alliot-Marie said Gadhafi must be held accountable for his actions, as he has been calling for and supporting murder of the people in his nation, the
There have been hundreds, if not thousands, of victims reported since forces loyal to Gadhafi started fighting protesters in the streets.
"Tanks, helicopters and military aircraft have reportedly been used indiscriminately to attack the protesters. According to some sources, thousands may have been killed or injured," U.N. Human Rights High Commissioner Navi Pillay said.
In an interview with
on Thursday, France's top human rights official Francois Zimeray said the death toll in Libya could be as high as 2,000, as the clashes become increasingly violent.
"The question is not if Gadhafi will fall, but when and at what human cost," Zimeray said. "For now the figures we have ... more than 1,000 have died, possibly 2,000, according to sources."
In an interview aired Friday on Turkish TV, Gadhafi's son, Saif Al Islam Gadhafi, vowed he and his family plan to "live and die in Libya," and refuse to allow "a bunch of terrorists" to take control of the nation, the
When asked if the royal family had a "plan B," he replied, "we have plan A, plan B and plan C. Plan A is to live and die in Libya, plan B is to live and die in Libya, plan C is to live and die in Libya."
French foreign minister Alliot-Marie said sanctions could be imposed on the movement of people, and the possibility of implementing a no-fly zone over Libya hasn't been excluded from discussions.
The U.N. will likely discuss a possible arms embargo as well as financial sanctions, though no action is expected to be taken until next week, the
Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.
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