Gaddafi appears on state TV, calls foreign channels ''dogs''

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Rania

Cairo, Feb 22 (PTI) Facing an unprecedented revoltagainst his 41-year rule, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi todayappeared on state television dismissing reports that he hadfled the country, calling foreign news channels "dogs".

"I am in Tripoli and not in Venezuela. Do not believethese channels - they are dogs," he told Libyan TV, which saidhe was speaking outside his house.

68-year-old Gaddafi, who was sitting on the passengerseat of an old white ban and holding an umbrella to shieldhimself from rain, appeared for less than a minute on thestate television shortly after 0200 am local time (0530 HRSIST).

The statement of Gaddafi, who is battling an Egypt-likecrisis, came amid fresh clashes between security forces andprotesters. According to human rights groups, over 300 peoplehave been killed in the revolt which entered the eighth daytoday.

Al-Jazeera said Libyan Justice Minister Mustapha AbdulJalil had resigned in protest against the "excessive use ofviolence" against demonstrators and joined the agitation.

In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sentout a tough message to the Libyan leader, warning against theuse of lethal force on peaceful demonstrators.

"The government of Libya has a responsibility to respectthe universal rights of the people, including the right tofree expression and assembly. Now is the time to stop thisunacceptable bloodshed," Clinton said in a statement.

The anti-government protests reached the capital Tripoliyesterday for the first time after days of violent unrest inthe eastern city of Benghazi, but Gaddafi''s son pledged tofight the revolt to the "last man standing", warningprotesters that Libya was neither Tunisia nor Egypt.

A wave of anti-regime protests has gripped the Arabworld, but the suppression is turning out to be the mostbrutal in Libya.

As people in the capital joined the protests, the Libyanleader''s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi appeared on television andsaid the regime will not back out even to the last bullet.

"We will keep fighting until the last man standing,even to the last woman standing ... we will not leave Libya tothe Italians or the Turks," he said. (More) PTI KIM VMN

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