Gadhafi warns of chaos if protests continue

Updated: 2011-02-25 07:56

(China Daily)

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TRIPOLI, Libya - Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi warned Libyans that protests will lead to chaos in the country in a phone-in to state TV on Thursday, according to Dubai-based Al- Alabiya TV.

"If you want to live in this chaos, it's up to you," he told Libyans, adding that he felt sorry for those who were killed in the clashes.

He called on protesters to lay down their weapons, accusing some of acting under the influence of drugs.

He said that the United States and the West must have a hand in the country's unrest.

Gadhafi accused members and agents of al-Qaida of standing behind the protests and unrest that swept Libya, calling for its members to be arrested.

He said al-Qaida wants to build "an Islamic emirate" in Libya, adding that protests in Libya have links with Osama bin Laden.

Gadhafi said he only has "moral authority" in Libya. "I don't have the power to issue laws. The authority is at the hands of the people," he said.

Gadhafi called on residents in Zawiyah city west of Tripoli to go to the streets and fight protesters gathering in the city.

Heavy gunfire was reportedly heard in the town of Zawiyah, about 50 km west of the Libyan capital, where fierce clashes have taken place.

The Libyan government has reportedly seen defection of its security forces and the resignation of diplomats since the protests broke out on Feb 16. The country's state TV said a total of 300 people including 111 soldiers and 189 civilians have been killed in the unrest in the past week.



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