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French expats arrive back in Paris after evacuation from Libya

Video by Jody JENKINS

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-02-23

Two planes arrived in Paris from Tripoli Tuesday morning carrying around 500 French nationals – the first contingent of expats who are trying to flee the country as Libyan authorities continue their violent crackdown against protesters.

AFP - Two planes carrying French nationals from Libya arrived in Paris early Wednesday with some 500 passengers aboard, who said thousands of foreigners were awaiting evacuation from Tripoli's packed airport.

A military plane carrying 172 people from Tripoli landed at the French capital's main Charles de Gaulle airport in the early hours while another plane with more than 200 people on board landed around an hour later.       

While most passengers declined to speak to reporters, the few who did said Tripoli's airport was choked with expatriates waiting to be flown home.
             
Around 750 French nationals normally live in Libya but the foreign ministry estimates their current numbers at between 500 and 550.
             
Several Western countries, including Britain, Germany, the United States and the Netherlands as well as China, the Philippines and several South Asian nations have announced evacuation plans.
             
Portugal has flown back 80 nationals and 34 foreigners while Austria has evacuated 62 Europeans.
             
Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi late Tuesday ordered supporters to crush an uprising against his rule, vowing to "slaughter" opponents and fight to the "last drop of my blood".
             
The popular uprising against his iron-fisted rule has already left hundreds dead in the past eight days.
             
Kadhafi's government said said 300 people, including 58 soldiers, have died in the protests, which began on February 15 but other estimates have given a far higher death toll.

 

Date created : 2011-02-23

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