Gaddafi addresses supporters at public ceremony in Tripoli: TV

09:05, March 03, 2011      

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Photo taken on Oct. 9, 2010 shows Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi attend a meeting in Sirte, Libya. (Xinhua Photo)

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi addressed his supporters at a televised public rally in Tripoli on Wednesday, according to the Libyan state TV.

It was Gaddafi's third televised speech since the anti- government protests broke out in the country. The event was to mark the 34th anniversary of the launch of the Popular Committees.

Gaddafi reiterated that people exercised their authority through popular committees and popular conferences and he is merely a "symbol".

"People are standing behind their symbolic leader," he said, insisting that he has handed authority to the Libyan people since 1977.

He said the demonstrations which support him are not shown by the international media, adding that he is "not following any satellite television."

His speech was interrupted several times by chanting from his supporters, saying that they swore they would not abandon their leader.

Gaddafi said that oil production in the North African country was now "at its lowest level" due to the unrest flamed by what he called al-Qaida "cells."

Gaddafi has vowed to fight to the "last man and last woman'' to defend his country.

He also called for the United Nations and NATO to investigate the facts about what had happened in Libya, and said he saw a conspiracy to colonize Libya and seize its oil.

"Libya has not fallen, it is them who will fall," Gaddafi said, adding that all those who had launched the attacks would be investigated and punished.

Gaddafi challenged the world to find out if any peaceful protesters were killed. "In America, France, and everywhere, if people attacked military stores and tried to steal weapons, they will shoot them," he said in the speech.

He urged the United Nations and NATO to "set up fact-finding committees" to find out how people were killed.

He asked how the UN Security Council could decide resolutions on the basis of media reports, rather than proper facts.

"What was happening in Libya was domestic and not international, " he said.

He said he was sure the Security Council would eventually agree that it had taken the wrong decision.

"Should that not be the case, all states would have lost their sovereignty and been subject to the Security Council," he said.

"The Arabs are envious of you and hope destruction for you and they don't like you at all," he said.

Referring to the situation in Egypt, he said, "Egypt is going toward the unknown. Not one Egyptian is able to reach an understanding with another Egyptian... The army is nothing... Egypt is nothing. It is not a popular revolt," he said.

He added that Libyans would die in thousands if the United States or other foreign powers enter Libya.

"Do they want us to become slaves once again like we were slaves to the Italians?" the Libyan leader said, referring to Libya's former colonial power.

"We will never accept it. We will enter a bloody war and thousands and thousands of Libyans will die if the United States or NATO enters," he said.

While he spoke, clashes throughout the country continued as his security forces attempted to retake control of cities which had fallen under control of protesters.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi gestures to his supporters during a ceremony marking the 34th anniversary of the launch of the Popular Committees in Tripoli, capital of Libya, March 2, 2011. Gaddafi reiterated that people exercised their authority through popular committees and popular conferences and he is merely a "symbol". (Xinhua/Hamza Turkia)

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