Defiant Gaddafi orders uprising crushed

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 16:05 EDT
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TRIPOLI – Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi on Tuesday ordered his forces to crush an uprising that has rocked his 41-year rule, warning armed protesters they will be executed and vowing to fight to the end.

In a defiant, sometimes rambling television speech, Kadhafi vowed to remain in Libya as head of its revolution, saying he would die as a martyr in the land of his ancestors and fight to the “last drop” of his blood.

Proclaiming the support of the people, Kadhafi ordered the army and police to crush the popular uprising against his iron-fisted rule that has already left hundreds dead in the past eight days.

Ordering protesters to surrender their weapons immediately, saying there would be a “slaughter” otherwise, he threatened to purge Libya “house by house” and “inch by inch.”

The 68-year-old former army colonel said, “Moamer Kadhafi is the leader of a revolution; Moamer Kadhafi has no official position in order for him to resign. He is the leader of the revolution forever.”

“This is my country, my country,” he shouted, in a roughly 75-minute speech consisting of short, angry bursts of words, which he punctuated by shaking his fist or pointing his finger.

Despite widespread reports that army, police and militias had killed unarmed demonstrators indiscriminately, Kadhafi said “we have not yet used force.”

However, he said, “if the situation worsens we will use it in line with international law and Libya’s constitution.”

Kadhafi called on Libyans to demonstrate in a show of popular support on Wednesday. “Capture the rats,” he said of anti-regime protesters. “Go out of your homes and storm them” wherever they are.

“Any Libyan who carries arms against Libyans will be punished by death,” he thundered.

Despite his defiance, Kadhafi’s grip on Libya appeared increasingly shaky as ambassadors quit and fighter pilots defected, flying to Malta where they said they had refused to follow orders to fire on protesters.

Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi spoke with Kadhafi by telephone on Tuesday, the Italian leader’s office said later without elaborating.

The Italian news agency ANSA said Berlusconi had urged a peaceful solution to the crisis and told Kadhafi that Italy was not arming protesters as stated by the Libyan leader in his speech.

In one of many demonstrations held Tuesday outside Libyan embassies across Europe, Africa and the Middle East, protesters burned an Italian flag in Valletta, Malta in anger at Rome’s ties with Kadhafi’s regime.

The international community responded to the speech by demanding Kadhafi halt violence against protesters.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the crackdown as “completely unacceptable.”

“It is the responsibility of the government of Libya to respect the universal rights of their own people, including their right to free expression and assembly,” she said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Libyan leader had declared war on his own people.

“Kadhafi’s speech today was very scary as he has declared war on his own people,” she said, while warning Berlin would consider sanctions unless he ended the crackdown.

The Arab League said it has barred Tripoli from attending its meetings “until the Libyan authorities respond to demands, guaranteeing the security and stability of its people.”

Kadhafi’s sense of isolation was being underlined at a meeting of the UN Security Council, called after Libyan diplomats who have broken ranks from him called for a UN no-fly zone over the country and humanitarian action.

Although government restrictions have complicated the task of compiling a tally, Human Rights Watch said 233 had been killed in the uprising while the International Federation for Human Rights put the toll at between 300 and 400.

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the authorities should immediately stop using violence, adding “widespread and systematic attacks against the civilian population may amount to crimes against humanity”.

There have been numerous reports by witnesses that the air force has been strafing protesters, and Pillay said an independent inquiry was needed.

The uprising flared up in the east last week, spreading to the capital on Monday, where protesters attacked police stations and the offices of the state broadcaster and set government buildings ablaze.

Residents of two districts in Tripoli said by telephone there had been “a massacre,” with gunmen “firing indiscriminately” in Tajura district.

Another in Fashlum said helicopters had landed what he called African mercenaries who opened fire on anyone in the street, killing many people.

Terrified expatriates were hunkered down with their families awaiting evacuation.

France said it was sending three air force planes to Tripoli to extract its nationals and Britain announced plans to send both a charter flight and a navy frigate to help evacuate citizens caught up in unrest.

Souhayr Belhassen, head of the International Federation for Human Rights, quoted witnesses as saying militias and security forces loyal to Kadhafi were “breaking down doors and pillaging” in a backlash against protestors.

“It is impossible to remove the corpses from the road; we are shot at from above,” one witness was quoted as telling a Libyan rights group.

On Monday, witnesses reported massacres in Tripoli after Libyan television announced armed forces were assaulting “dens of terrorists.”

But Kadhafi’s son, Seif al-Islam, denied reports the forces had bombarded Tripoli and Benghazi.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
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  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/6EX2KJ7LSZMDCBZWCH62Q7CABY Sandra

    Why did AlJazeera cut the speech right when he was disclosing the juicy details? He started to say that some forces in Libya wanted to sabotage the government by installing a bearded cleric in office…..

    then the anchor interrupted saying “well we’ve heard enough”.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHUR5LALBGRBDQ5VAKAL3JDKNU JustinB

    “we have not yet used force.”

    – I didn’t interpret this statement as Kadhafi claiming there has been no violence against protesters, rather a warning that we’ve seen nothing yet…

    “Any Libyan who carries arms against Libyans will be punished by death,”

    – Kadhafi just signed his own death warrant. He is the only “Libyan” carrying arms against other Libyans, any reaction you see by the citizens of Libya is pure self defense. Any uprising is against oppression. I hope these people get their justice, freedom, and democracy. Kadhafi has been here far too long it is now his time to go.

    “saying he would die as a martyr in the land of his ancestors and fight to the “last drop” of his blood.”

    – Be careful what you wish for.

    Why didn’t the recent genocide (a few years back) of the peaceful Monks and ethnic minorities in Myanmar (Burma) claim this much attention? Would it have helped if they discovered a large source of oil? There was never a debate of intervention. No balls to stand up to China?

  • Johnny Warbucks

    You heard it here first! The other tinfoil dictator, the Madman of the Caribbean, the one with the bear, the cigar and the military fatigues, has put out one of his newspaper dissertations advancing a “solid” theory supported by the “it takes one to know one” doctrine in which he claims that NATO will invade Libya to steal its oil. One must wade thru all the denunciations of imperialism, the yankees, Hug Chavez adulation and aggrandazing of the revolution (both his and Qaddafi’s) and such before getting to the the juicy part. And, ok, ok, I know. A lot of people (myself included) can see that happening (it’s not as it hasn’t happened before). However, here’s the killer, the closing of the typed diarrhea of the mind:

    “Por mi parte, no imagino al dirigente libio abandonando el país, eludiendo las responsabilidades que se le imputan, sean o no falsas en parte o en su totalidad.

    Una persona honesta estará siempre contra cualquier injusticia que se cometa con cualquier pueblo del mundo, y la peor de ellas, en este instante, sería guardar silencio ante el crimen que la OTAN se prepara a cometer contra el pueblo libio.

    A la jefatura de esa organización belicista le urge hacerlo. ¡Hay que denunciarlo!

    Translation: As far as I am concerned, the Libyan leader cannot abandon the country and elude the responsibilities that have been bestowed upon him, whether they may or not be false, in hole or in part.

    An honest person will always oppose injustice committed against any people and, at this moment, the worse would be to stand silent in front of the crime that NATO is about to commit against the Libyan people.

    We must denounce the leadership of such a violent organization.


    * * *

    Muaaa haaaa… In other words, Qaddafi is a swell guy. He didn’t do it. It was the CIA. If I were him, I’d do exactly the same. Or more just to make sure. You can’t make this shit up! If Qaddafi doesn’t die like the martyr he thinks he is at the hand of his people and decides to flee instead, no doubt Fidel will give him a place to crash for a while. Which is good, really, really good. He’ll me that much closer to Guantánamo.

  • http://twitter.com/Bootstrapbettys Bootstrap Betty

    Trying to get the rest of what he said too. Next time he needs to start off with the interesting stuff and save the boring crap for last.

  • http://twitter.com/Bootstrapbettys Bootstrap Betty

    From what I hear,a lot of what he said was mistranslated. There isn’t any video up where he speaks without loud translation. If someone can find one, could you kindly post here? I check in pretty often. Thanks!

  • TheDevilCanDance

    Gaddafi is arrogant & delusional as Netanyahu, he must be a secret Jew :)

  • Anonymous

    ‘…saying he would die as a martyr in the land of his ancestors and fight to the “last drop” of his blood.’ I have a feeling Gaddafi is maybe going to be the first of these overdrawn clowns to be “that guy.” The one who is caught by an angry crowd and, if not drawn and quartered, at least Ceauşescu’d.

  • Anonymous

    Gaddafi seems to be on drugs. It’s interesting that he accuses the opposition of being on drugs.
    He’s seems all over the place with his rants.
    He’s sounds kind of like a Libyan Rush Limbaugh when he speaks.

  • Anonymous

    What a difference 4 years makes as reported in the following article
    Jul 10, 2007 … WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President George W. Bush has written to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi saying further strengthening of ties …

    What’s Gaddafi’s friend now? Republicans are calling for Obama to invade Libya and remove Gaddafi like Bush illegally invaded Iraq. I don’t think Obama will follow the advice of idiots and few accept the fact Iraq was invaded for oil and it had nothing to do with WMD’s or Iraq freedom. At lease Gaddafi has a safe place to go once he is kicked out there’s Crawford Texas with his old friend George.

  • Anonymous

    So … THIS week . . . is he a friend or an enemy of “the West” ?

    Bush-Obama supporters: … What’s The Word on this ?