Gaddafi slams foreign channels as `dogs` in TV appearance

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - 12:30

Cairo: Facing an unprecedented revolt against his 41-year rule, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi Tuesday appeared on state television dismissing reports that he had fled the country, calling foreign news channels "dogs".

"I am in Tripoli and not in Venezuela. Do not believe
these channels - they are dogs," he told Libyan TV, which said
he was speaking outside his house.

68-year-old Gaddafi, who was sitting on the passenger
seat of an old white ban and holding an umbrella to shield
himself from rain, appeared for less than a minute on the
state television shortly after 0200 am local time (0530 HRS
IST).

The statement of Gaddafi, who is battling an Egypt-like
crisis, came amid fresh clashes between security forces and
protesters. According to human rights groups, over 300 people
have been killed in the revolt which entered the eighth day
today.

Al-Jazeera said Libyan Justice Minister Mustapha Abdul
Jalil had resigned in protest against the "excessive use of
violence" against demonstrators and joined the agitation.

In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent
out a tough message to the Libyan leader, warning against the
use of lethal force on peaceful demonstrators.

"The government of Libya has a responsibility to respect
the universal rights of the people, including the right to
free expression and assembly. Now is the time to stop this
unacceptable bloodshed," Clinton said in a statement.

The anti-government protests reached the capital Tripoli
yesterday for the first time after days of violent unrest in
the eastern city of Benghazi, but Gaddafi`s son pledged to
fight the revolt to the "last man standing", warning
protesters that Libya was neither Tunisia nor Egypt.

A wave of anti-regime protests has gripped the Arab
world, but the suppression is turning out to be the most
brutal in Libya.

As people in the capital joined the protests, the Libyan
leader`s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi appeared on television and
said the regime will not back out even to the last bullet.

"We will keep fighting until the last man standing,
even to the last woman standing ... we will not leave Libya to
the Italians or the Turks," he said.

The newly set up high-power General Committee for Defence
said its forces would cleanse Libya of anti-government
elements.

A statement described the protesters as "terrorist gangs
made up mostly of misguided youths", who had been exploited
and fed "hallucinogenic pills" by people following foreign
agendas.

Close on the heels of Libya`s envoys in Delhi and Dhaka
quitting to protest the use of force against the
demonstrators, the country`s top diplomat in the US said he
could no longer support Gaddafi.

Libya`s envoy to the Arab League, Abdel Moneim al-Honi,
also announced that he was joining the revolution.
The country`s diplomats at the United Nations called for
international intervention to stop the government`s violent
action against demonstrations in their homeland.

Tripoli`s airport was packed with passengers trying to
leave the country. Hundreds of people of different
nationalities, including Europeans, had gathered there with
their families.

Armed security personnel patrolled Tripoli streets, with
war planes flying over the city.

Mobile phone networks were down and even landlines were
affected.

Security forces yesterday used live ammunition, which
witnesses described as "small bombs", on protesters in
Tripoli, `The New York Times` reported.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was "outraged"
by reports that Libyan forces had fired on protesters from war
planes and helicopters, and demanded that the civilian
population be protected under any circumstances.

He urged all parties to exercise restraint and
called on the authorities to engage in broad-based dialogue
to address "legitimate concerns of the population."

The UN leader had a 40-minute telephone conversation with
Gaddafi earlier to press for an end to violence.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - 12:30

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