CNNMoney’s Julianne Pepitone
New York (CNNMoney) – When the entire Internet gets angry, Congress takes notice. Both the House and the Senate on Friday backed away from a pair of controversial anti-piracy bills, tossing them into limbo and throwing doubt on their future viability.
The Senate had been scheduled to vote next week on the Protect IP Act (PIPA) – a bill that once had widespread, bipartisan support. But on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was postponing the vote “in light of recent events.”
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has said he will investigate Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, his sons and senior aides for crimes against humanity.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo said no-one had the right to massacre civilians.
Thousands of people are thought to have died after security forces targeted protesters in unrest which began in mid-February.
Col Gaddafi vowed to fight on despite losing control of much of the country.
Earlier on Thursday, his forces launched air strikes on the oil town of Brega, sources in the town said.
The situation on Libya’s border with Tunisia has reached crisis point, as tens of thousands of foreigners flee unrest in the country, the UN says.
Aid staff are battling to cope with an exodus that has seen some 140,000 people crossing into Tunisia and Egypt.
Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi has played down protests in the country and insisted that all his people love him.
His comments came amid reports that he is attempting to regain control of rebel areas in western Libya.
Col Gaddafi is facing a massive challenge to his 41-year rule, with protesters in control of towns in the east.
Witnesses said pro-Gaddafi forces tried to retake the western cities of Zawiya, Misrata and Nalut on Monday but were repulsed by rebels helped by defecting army units.
Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, and their wives, have been taken from their homes by security forces, reports suggest.
Mr Karroubi’s son told the BBC he had heard his father had been moved, but did not know where he had been taken.
A website close to Mr Mousavi claims the men have been taken to Heshmatiyeh jail in Tehran.
Iranian government officials denied the report, the semi-official Fars news agency said.
It comes ahead of planned protests that are due to be held on Tuesday.
Fars quoted an unnamed official in Iran’s judiciary as denying that the men had been taken.
“The two are currently in their homes and there have only been restrictions on their contacts,” the official said.
Dozens have been reported dead after more violence hit the Libyan capital as angry protests against embattled leader Muammar Gaddafi’s 40-year rule escalate across the country.
At least 61 people were killed in clashes in Tripoli on Monday, witnesses told Al Jazeera. The protests appeared to be gathering momentum, with demonstrators saying they had taken control of several key towns in the country, including the city of Benghazi.
Another huge march under way in Tripoli on Monday afternoon was reportedly under attack by security forces using military planes and live ammunition to fire on protesters, sources told Al Jazeera.
Ahmed Elgazir, a human rights researcher at the Libyan News Centre (LNC) also told Al Jazeera that security forces were “massacring” protesters in Tripoli.
TRIPOLI — A central government building in the Libyan capital Tripoli was on fire Monday, a Reuters reporter said, in the latest sign that the revolt against Moammar Gadhafi is gathering strength.
“I can see the People’s Hall is on fire, there are firefighters there trying to put it out,” the reporter said. The building is where the General People’s Congress, or parliament, meets when it is in session in Tripoli.
The privately owned news website Qureyna said flames were seen leaping from the building, and that the headquarters of the Olympics Committee was also on fire.
Early Monday, protesters also took over the office of two of the multiple state-run satellite news channels, witnesses said.
Protesters were calling for a new protest at sunset Monday in Tripoli’s Green Square, setting up the likelihood of new clashes.
A wave of protests has been rocking states from the Gulf to North Africa. But whereas Bahrain’s royal family has backed off from violently confronting the protesters, Libya’s security forces are reported to have killed dozens of people. The BBC’s diplomatic affairs correspondent Bridget Kendall looks at the different approaches.
A few days ago it was tempting to view the ripples of unrest as part of a pattern: Inspired by the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, an unfolding of large-scale public challenges to jittery rulers who ordered troops to fire on crowds in an attempt to keep the lid on.
But now it is clear that, in Bahrain and Libya at least, the paths are dramatically diverging.
In Bahrain troops have been withdrawn, jubilant demonstrators feel empowered and a dialogue has – it seems – begun with the ruling royal family.
Probably critical here has been not just Bahrain’s image of itself as a modern, relatively liberal Middle Eastern country, but the extent of outside influence.
US President Obama and other top American officials have been on the phone to the monarchy in Bahrain, as has British Foreign Secretary William Hague, all urging a peaceful solution.
Dozens of people were killed when Libyan troops used heavy weapons during a funeral procession amid unrest in Benghazi, a doctor in the city says.
She told the BBC that at least 45 bodies and 900 wounded had been brought to just one hospital on Saturday, describing the scene as a “massacre”.
Human Rights Watch says at least 173 people have been killed in Libya since demonstrations began on Wednesday.
Benghazi has been a leading focus of protests against Col Gaddafi’s rule.
Libya is one of several countries in the region to have seen pro-democracy campaigns since the fall of long-time Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January. Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak was forced from power on 11 February.
BBC Middle East correspondent Jon Leyne says the current unrest in Libya is the most serious challenge to Col Muammar Gaddafi in his four decades in power.
Reports are difficult to verify as the Libyan authorities have imposed severe media restrictions.
The Benghazi doctor told the BBC that at least 45 bodies and 900 injured people had been brought to Jala hospital – most of them with gunshot wounds.
“Ninety percent of these gunshot wounds [were] mainly in the head, the neck, the chest, mainly in the heart,” she said.
She added that she has been in contact with other Benghazi hospitals, which she says were overwhelmed by casualties and have not been able to count the dead.
CAIRO – Security forces in Libya and Yemen fired on pro-democracy demonstrators Saturday as the two hard-line regimes struck back against the wave of protests that has already toppled autocrats in Egypt and Tunisia. At least 15 died when police shot into crowds of mourners in Libya’s second-largest city, a hospital official said.
Even as Bahrain’s king bowed to international pressure and withdrew tanks to allow demonstrators to retake a symbolic square in the capital, Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi and Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh made clear they plan to stamp out opposition and not be dragged down by the reform movements that have grown in nations from Algeria to Djibouti to Jordan.
Libyans returned to the street for a fifth straight day of protests against Gadhafi, the most serious uprising in his 42-year reign, despite estimates by human rights groups of 84 deaths in the North African country — with 35 on Friday alone.
Saturday’s deaths, which would push the overall toll to 99, occurred when snipers fired on thousands of mourners in Benghazi, a focal point of unrest, as they attended the funerals of other protesters, a hospital official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.
Rights groups say there is a rising death toll from clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces in Libya.
Amnesty said 43 people had died in protests on Thursday, while other reports suggested dozens more were killed on Friday.
The government has blocked websites and shut off electricity in some areas.
State media outlets have warned of retaliation against anyone criticising Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The mainstay of the unrest is in regional towns and cities, where many people live in poverty.
Foreign journalists operate under restrictions in Libya, so it has been difficult to independently verify much of the information coming out of the country.
But the BBC has confirmed that several websites – including Facebook and al-Jazeera Arabic – have been blocked.
And the airport in Benghazi, the country’s second largest city, has been closed, amid reports that protesters have taken it over.