Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi
has appeared on state television
to signal his defiance in the face
of a mounting revolt against his
41-year rule.
"I am in Tripoli and not in
Venezuela. Do not believe the
channels belonging to stray
dogs," Gaddafi told Libyan state
TV, which said he was speaking
outside his house on Tuesday
Reports on Monday said Gaddafi
had fled to Venezuela.
Gaddafi, in his first televised
appearance since protests to
topple him started last week, was
holding an umbrella in the rain
and leaning out of a van.
"I wanted to say something to
the youths at the Green Square
(in Tripoli) and stay up late with
them but it started raining.
Thank God, it's a good thing,"
Gaddafi said in a 22-second
State TV reported earlier that
pro-government demonstrations
were taking place in Green
Square in the capital.
Libyan forces loyal to Gaddafi
have fought an increasingly
bloody battle to keep the veteran
leader in power with residents
reporting gunfire in parts of the
capital Tripoli and one political
activist saying warplanes had
bombed the city.
Scores of people have been
reported killed in continuing
violence in Tripoli amid
escalating protests across the
north African nation.
Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera's
senior political analyst, said "in a
sense this is a pariah regime that
will not have any chance of
governing anymore and the
international community could
come to terms on whether this is
a genocide and whether there
should be international
intervention to protect the Libyan
people from the militias of the
"We've heard even a NATO
spokesman saying that the
Libyan regime should stop
committing war crimes against
its people so I think there is
momentum out there but
certainly it's not quick enough."
Deep cracks were showing and
Gaddafi seemed to be losing vital
support, as Libyan government
officials at home and abroad
resigned, air force pilots defected
and major government buildings
were targeted during clashes in
the capital.
At least 61 people were killed in
the capital city on Monday,
witnesses told Al Jazeera. The
protests appeared to be
gathering momentum, with
demonstrators saying they have
taken control of
several important towns and the
city of Benghazi, to the east of
Protesters called for another
night of defiance against the
Arab world's longest-serving
leader, despite a crackdown by
A huge anti-government march
in Tripoli on Monday
afternoon came under attack by
security forces using fighter jets
and live ammunition, witnesses
told Al Jazeera.
"What we are witnessing today is
unimaginable. Warplanes and
helicopters are indiscriminately
bombing one area after another.
There are many, many dead,"
Adel Mohamed Saleh said in a live
broadcast .
"Anyone who moves, even if they
are in their car, they will hit you."
US Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton said it was "time to stop
this unnacceptable bloodshed" in
A group of army officers issued a
statement urging fellow soldiers
to "join the people" and help
remove Gaddafi.
The justice minister resigned in
protest at the "excessive use of
violence" against protesters and
diplomats at Libya's mission to
the United Nations called on the
Libyan army to help overthrow
"the tyrant Muammar Gaddafi".
Both Libya and Venezuela denied
reports that Gaddafi had fled to
the South American country.
Libyan state television said
Gaddafi would give a speech
Two Libyan fighter jets landed in
Malta, their pilots defecting after
they said they had been ordered
to bomb protesters, Maltese
government officials said.
Libyan authorities have cut all
landline and wireless
communication in the country,
making it impossible to verify the
With reports of large-scale
military operations under way in
Tripoli, a spokesperson for Ban
Ki-moon said the UN chief held
extensive discussions
with Gaddafi on Monday,
condemned the escalating
violence in Libya and told him
that it "must stop immediately”.
" ... The secretary-general
underlined the need to ensure
the protection of the civilian
population under any
circumstances. He urged all
parties to exercise restraint and
called upon the authorities to
engage in broad-based dialogue
to address legitimate concerns of
the population, ” Ban's
spokesperson said.
For this part, several Libyan
diplomats at the country's UN
mission called on Gaddafi to step
Ibrahim Dabbashi, the deputy
ambassador, said that if Gaddafi
did not relinquish power, "the
Libyan people [would] get rid of
him ”.
"We don't agree with anything
the regime is doing ... we are
here to serve the Libyan people,"
he told Al Jazeera.
Dabbashi urged the international
community to impose a no-fly
zone over Libya to prevent
mercenaries, weapons and other
supplies from reaching Gaddafi
and his security forces.
Arab League to meet
Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-
Thani, Qatar's prime minister and
foreign minister, called for an
extraordinary meeting of the
Arab League to take place on
Tuesday. The aim is to discuss
the current crisis in Libya and to
put additional "pressure" on the
government, Al-Thani told Al
He said the international
community must act now. "I feel
a big sympathy for the Libyan
people. We don't accept using
force in this way or any way
against the people or against any
nation from their governments.,"
he said on Monday.
"And we make our declaration in
this space and we think that the
international community should
also take a stand against what is
happening in Libya at the
"I think the security council has
to play a role.. the condemnation
is not enough.. i think the five
permanent members and others,
they should take the
responsibility and do something
to help the civillian people in
Libya, because what happens is
not accepted in any way."
The comments came just hours
after Ahmed Elgazir, a human-
rights researcher at the Libyan
News Centre (LNC) in Geneva,
Switzerland, told Al Jazeera that
security forces were
"massacring" protesters in
Elgazir said the LNC received a call
for help from a woman
"witnessing the massacre in
progress who called on a satellite
Earlier, a privately run local
newspaper reported that the
Libyan justice minister had
resigned over the use of deadly
force against protesters.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Ahmad
Jibreel, a Libyan diplomat,
confirmed that the justice
minister, Mustapha Abdul
Jalil, had sided with the
"I was speaking to the minister
of justice just a few minutes
ago ... he told me personally, he
told me he had joined the
supporters. He is trying to
organise good things in all
cities," he said.
Jibreel further said that key cities
near Libya's border with Egypt
were now in the hands of
protesters, which he said would
enable the foreign media to
enter the country.
"Gaddafi's guards started
shooting people in the second
day ... when they killed two
people, we had more than 5,000
at their funeral, and when they
killed 15 people the next day, we
had more than 50,000 the
following day," he said,
adding "the more Gaddafi kills
people, the more people go into
the streets."

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