Defiant Gadhafi addresses Libya

Libyan leader urges supporters to take back the streets

In a rambling and often incomprehensible address on state television, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi addressed his country on Tuesday for the first time since mass protests consumed the cities of Benghazi and Tripoli on February 18. Blaming “foreign agencies” for the brutal violence that has thus far killed unspecified hundreds of people over the weekend, Gadhafi also proposed that the protesters were small groups of young people who were given drugs and money to attack police stations and schools. He has asked his supporters to take to the streets on Wednesday, and vowed that he would fight on until the end, saying, “Moammar Gadhafi is not a normal person that you can poison…or lead a revolution against.” His appearance on state television, broadcast from his compound in Tripoli, seemed designed to prove that he had not fled the country, possibly to Venezuela as some reports have previously implied. Violence and chaos in Libya rages on, with reports of anti-aircraft guns and warplanes being used on protesters, as well as mercenaries from sub-Saharan nations being brought in to fire upon Libyan citizens. Two air force colonels had reportedly redirected their fighter jets and defected to Malta after being to fire on demonstrators from the air. As the uprising enters its ninth day, details are still sketchy as to how many casualties have occurred, as landlines, mobile service and internet have all been cut off.

Al Jazeera English

Looking for more?

Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.