Libyan protests: in pictures

Solidarity rallies are taking place worldwide as Muammar Gaddafi’s son warns that civil war could be

Above, a woman shouts in support of the people of Libya in front of the White House in Washington, DC. In a bloody crackdown in Libya's second city, Benghazi, troops and mercenaries fired on unarmed protesters. The current death toll is at least 230.

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Supporters of the Libyan leader, Muammar al-Gaddafi, kiss his photograph at a pro-government rally in Tripoli. For the first time since the unrest in Libya began, anti-government protests have spread to the capital, with reports of gunfire and tear gas today.

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More pro-government protesters are seen above. Verifying information from Libya has been difficult amid a government crackdown on the internet and media communications.

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The Libyan leader's son Saif al-Islam has warned that civil war could hit the country. In a rambling address, he criticised the protesters but promised significant political reforms. He repeatedly said that Libya was "not Egypt or Tunisia".

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Above, a girl protests outside the Libyan embassy in London. Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi admitted that the police and army had made "mistakes", but said the death toll was far lower than reported.

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Demonstrators in Cairo, Egypt, shout slogans. Colonel Gaddafi, the longest-serving leader in the Arab world, has ruled the oil-rich state since he staged a coup in 1969.

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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Novelty isn't enough for Emmanuel Macron and Martin Schulz

The two politicians have caused excitement - but so far, neither has had to articulate a programme. 

Emmanuel Macron’s rally in London last night was overshadowed by polling that showed him slipping back slightly as he reaped the consequences of his excessive candour on the matter of France’s rule in Algeria.  Third with Elabe, and joint-second with centre-right candidate François Fillon with Opinionway and Ifop.

As far as the polling and French history show, what matters in this contest is the race to second-place and a ticket to the second round run-off against the hard-right Marine Le Pen.

Macron’s difficulties have intensified as this is the first Wednesday in months in which Le Canard Enchaîné has not brought fresh scandal involving Fillon and his finances. The question of why Penelope Fillon and the Fillon children were paid to act as parliamentary assistants while doing no work will run and run, however, so there may be a way back for him.

Macron’s problems have an echo in Germany, where for the first time since his return to German politics, Martin Schulz is facing serious criticism over his proposed changes to the Agenda 2010 reforms of the last SPD-led government. We wait to see what if any impact that row has on his standing in the polls.

But the difficulties of Macron and Schulz speak to a wider reason why their improved standing in the polls means that the talk of the end of the European centre-left’s crisis was just that, talk.

So far, neither of them has had to articulate a programme beyond “I’m new!” in the case of Schulz and “I’m new and attractive!” in the case of Macron.

We’ve seen that Macron, a neophyte politician, has put his foot in it when asked to add substance to his considerable style. He might improve and Fillon’s ongoing problems might give him a get out of jail free card. Schulz has been around for a bit longer but he has to keep this up until October. It’s a reminder that while being new and shiny is a useful asset for a leader – it isn’t enough on its own. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.