Gaddafi''s son warns of civil war as unrest spreads in Libya


Cairo, Feb 21 (PTI) Libya''s anti-government protestsreached capital Tripoli for the first time but MuammarGaddafi''s son pledged to fight the revolt to the "last manstanding", warning protesters that Libya was neither Tunisianor Egypt.

A wave of anti-regime protests have gripped the Arabworld, but the suppression is turning out to be the mostbrutal in Libya, where according to Human Rights Watch atleast 223 people have been killed in five days of violence.

As people in the capital joined protests for the firsttime after days of violent unrest in the eastern city ofBenghazi, the Libyan leader''s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafiappeared on television and said that the regime will not backout 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.

As the crackdown intensified, Libya''s justice ministerMustapha Abdeljalil resigned in protest to "the excessive useof force" while a senior Libyan diplomat in China and Libya''sAmbassador to India also quit in protest.

Libya''s senior diplomat in China Hessein Sadiq alMusrati, who stepped down and called on all diplomatic staffto resign, also said that Gaddafi "may have left Libya".

Anti-government protesters, meanwhile, took to thestreets of Tripoli, in a revolt that started from Benghazi,where Gaddafi''s grip has traditionally been weaker.

Al Jazeera reported that tribal leaders too spoke outagainst Gaddafi, while some army units defected to opposition.

Protesters appeared to be largely in control in thecoastal city of Benghazi, where government buildings were setablaze after security forces were forced to retreat.

Ever since mass uprisings threw out autocratic regimesfirst in Tunisia and then in Egypt, the Arab world has beenswept by a wave of pro-democracy protests.

While similar revolts are being witnessed in Bahrain,Yemen and Morocco, it is Libya where the maximum blood hasspilled.

"We will take up arms... we will fight to the lastbullet. We will destroy seditious elements. If everybody isarmed, it is civil war, we will kill each other... Libya isnot Egypt, it is not Tunisia," warned Gaddafi''s son, whiledefending his father''s 41-year-old regime.

"Our spirits are high and the leader Muammar Gaddafiis leading the battle in Tripoli, and we are behind him as isthe Libyan army," he said, though he also offered someconcessions, promising new constitution and more mediafreedom.

The US condemned the violent crackdown in Libya andsaid it is considering all appropriate actions in response.


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