Gaddafi vows to fight on despite mounting int'l concern

14:02, February 23, 2011      

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Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Tuesday defied calls for his ouster, vowing to fight the intensifying revolt against his over four-decade old rule to "the last drop of blood."

Yet pressure on the defiant strongman was growing ever stronger, as more bodies came to light in the capital, Interior Minister Abdel-Fattah Younes al-Abidi defected, and more international repercussions ensued.

"Gaddafi does not have a post to resign from. Gaddafi is the leader of the revolution forever," he said outside one of his residences in his first major address since anti-government protests erupted last week.

"I am a warrior ... I am not going to leave this land, and I will die here as a martyr," the 69-year-old "guide of the revolution" said in the televised speech.

While protesters had overrun security forces in some cities in the oil-producing east, Gaddafi stressed that he still retained control over the capital and that he would call on the people to "cleanse Libya house by house" unless protesters on the streets surrendered.

Lashing out at who he called "cowards and traitors" seeking to portray Libya as a place of chaos and "humiliate" Libyans, the defiant leader urged his supporters to fill the streets and chase the revolters.

"I have not yet ordered the use of force, not yet ordered one bullet to be fired ... When I do, everything will burn," he said. "The Libyan people and the popular revolution will control Libya."

Source: Xinhua

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