Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi spoke out on Thursday for the second time since the start of a growing uprising against his government. In a speech to Libyans, Gadhafi blamed the violent unrest on al Qaeda and reiterated his claim that the protesters are young thugs under the influence of drugs. “No one above the age of 20 would actually take part in these events,” he said. He went on to say Libyans have “no reason to complain whatsoever,” and argued that his position as leader was purely symbolic, similar to the Queen of England. He spoke of implementing some reforms, such as raising salaries, and encouraged people to form participatory committees, although he was not specific about what role they might play in Libyan governance. The eccentric dictator would only acknowledge the deaths of four security officers, while Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini has estimated nearly 1,000 people have been killed thus far.
Looking for more?
Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.