Timeline: Libya’s uprising against Muammar Gaddafi

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

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 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 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 the 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 – 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 recognises the Libyan National Council, the rebel body fighting to oust Gaddafi, as the legitimate representative of Libya’s people, the first country to make such a move.

March 11 – Libya suspends diplomatic relations with France.

March 12 – The Arab League calls for a U.N. no-fly zone over Libya.

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 army.

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

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

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 in his first public appearance since the air strikes began.

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

March 24 – Western warplanes hit military targets deep inside Libya but fail to prevent tanks re-entering Misrata.

— A French fighter jet shoots down a Libyan warplane over Misrata in violation of the coalition no-fly zone.

— NATO says after four days of negotiations that it will enforce the no-fly zone but stops short of taking full command of U.N.-mandated military operations to protect civilians.

March 25 – Government forces pound Misrata with tank, mortar and artillery fire.

March 26 – Rebels capture the strategic town of Ajdabiyah with the help of foreign warplanes, and advance unchallenged to Ras Lanuf, the oil terminal town.

March 27 – Rebel fighters are in Brega, west of Ajdabiyah and also take control of Bin Jawad, east of the capital Tripoli.

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

— Aided by Western-led air strikes against Gaddafi forces rebels take the town of Nawfaliyah and move toward the Libyan leader’s hometown of Sirte.

March 29 – A London conference of 40 governments and international organisations agrees to set up a contact group comprising of 20 countries to coordinate political efforts on a post-Gaddafi Libya. It will hold its first meeting in Qatar.

— Qatar’s prime minister urges Gaddafi to step down to halt bloodshed.

March 30 – Gaddafi forces press further east with an artillery offensive against rebels. Since March 28, rebels have been pushed back more than 150 km (95 miles) toward Brega.

— Rebel fighters pull out of Ras Lanuf.

Timeline: Libya’s uprising against Muammar Gaddafi