Libyan web users bear witness to the highly tense situation in the country. Arab states are using social networks to renew dialogue with protesters. And four homeless residents of New York relate their day to day lives on Twitter.
Libya: the uprisings continue
Benghazi is now said to be controlled by Libyan protesters. And according to reports, demonstrators in this opposition stronghold are now armed. This video posted on the Facebook group behind the anti-Gaddafi uprising, appears to show demonstrators brandishing guns taken from the mercenaries hired by the regime to repress the movement.
Saif Al Islam Gaddafi says the country is on the brink of civil war. The Libyan leader’s son did in fact claim in a televised speech on Sunday night, that his country has been the target of a foreign conspiracy. Citizens responded to his speech, both in virtual life and actual life, by waving their shoes, a deeply insulting gesture in Arab countries.
The speech was met with violence in the capital Tripoli which has also been taken over by protesters. In these online images, demonstrators appear to have burned down a police station in the town centre.
This blog set up by young activists to provide coverage, has uploaded this audio account. An American of Libyan origin telephones his brother and describes the chaotic situation whilst gun shots ring out in the background.
Online reports are indeed depicting war scenes in the Libyan capital. This other video circulating on social networks appears to show a sniper opening fire in the streets of Tripoli.
It is difficult to establish the death toll, but there are many amateur documents showing the dead bodies of people who have been killed in the protests, giving an indication of the scale of violence.
Arab states turn to social networks
Use social networks to help reconnect with the younger generation … This is the strategy adopted by the Egyptian army which has recently set up its own Facebook page. The account has already attracted near to 400 000 web users, free to express their opinions, whether it is to thank the soldiers who are now in charge of the transition process, or to appeal for the liberation of political prisoners.
In Egypt, but also in Tunisia, the new leaders have understood that communication via social networks is now a necessity. At the heart of the Tunisian government, the Ministry of Industry and Technology was the first to set up a page, which already has over 15 000 followers. Other Ministers were quick to follow the example, like the head of government Mohamed Ghannouchi who recently started his own video blog on Facebook.
In Bahrain, the Foreign Minister Khalid al-Khalifa and the Interior Ministry are regularly commenting on the demonstrations in the country via their Twitter accounts whilst the authorities’ have reportedly been reinforcing web filtering in recent days.
The Libyan government, which communicates very little on the web, has decided to intermittently cut off Internet access in the country. A radical measure that Gaddafi’s opponents can bypass nonetheless; the web has been their main communication tool. Foreign Internet providers are offering Libyan web users’ low speed Internet access numbers, so they can stay connected to the World Wide Web.
Street art view
“Street Art View” is a collaborative project aimed at cataloguing a maximum amount of works from street artists. The site uses Google Map and Google Street View to help web users discover and appreciate graffiti from all over the world, in just a few clicks. Enthusiasts will also have the possibility to add their findings and thus contribute to this data base.
Underheard in New York
Give four homeless people in New York a mobile phone and set up a Twitter account for each of them so they can relate their day to day life. This was the idea dreamt up by three interns at an advertising agency to highlight the difficulties faced by those who live on the streets, and make sure that those living in this situation are not forgotten. You can follow the project on the site “Underheard in New York”.
Video of the day
Do you know what a « Jak Pak » is? Its jacket invented by an American man and it has the particularity of being able to transform into a sleeping bag or even a tent in just a few seconds. This video provides web users with a demonstration, which should be of interest to all camping enthusiasts or those who like to sleep underneath the stars.