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Rebels lay siege to Gaddafi stronghold

Desperate dictator tells faithful: 'We can crush any enemy'
By Donald Macintyre, Terri Judd and Catrina Stewart in Benghazi
Saturday, 26 February 2011
View the frightening video smuggled out of Tripoli and handed to The Independent below
View the frightening video smuggled out of Tripoli and handed to The Independent below
The beleaguered Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi defiantly appealed to his hardcore supporters to "defend the nation" against an uprising which was last night closing in on Tripoli after thousands of protesters braved gunfire to try to march through the capital.
Standing on the ramparts of a fort overlooking the city's Green Square, Colonel Gaddafi pumped his fist and told 1,000 pro-regime demonstrators: "We can crush any enemy. We can crush it with the people's will. The people are armed and when necessary, we will open arsenals to arm all the Libyan people and all Libyan tribes."
Urging the crowd to "retaliate against them, retaliate against them," the 68-year-old President was shown on state television calling on them to "prepare to defend the nation and defend the oil".

"The government is panicking and retreating more and more into the centre of Tripoli. There is fear on both sides," 

one man who fled the city told The Independent. "The government militias are fearful and so are the demonstrators. 

They will just continue to shoot all the demonstrators and a lot 

more people will die."

In Geneva, the Libyan delegation to the UN human rights council called for a moment of silence in the chamber to "honour this revolution".
"We in the Libyan mission have categorically decided to serve as representatives of the Libyan people and their free will. We only represent the Libyan people," one envoy, Adel Shaltut, declared, drawing thunderous applause.
The 47-nation council unanimously declared that it "strongly condemns the recent gross and systematic human rights violations committed in Libya", calling for the launch of a UN human rights investigation into the bloodshed of the past few days. It took the unprecedented step of calling for Libya's membership to be revoked.
Hague, the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, and the EU foreign affairs chief, Lady Ashton, are due to fly to Geneva on Monday to promote the case for prosecutions of Libyan leaders by the international criminal court. The foreign secretary said: "The message is clear: that there will be a day of reckoning for those guilty of the appalling atrocities. The world will act together to hold them to account."
Such measures were decried as paltry by some organisations calling for immediate action to stop the bloodshed.
A coalition of more than 200 Arab organisations and 30 leading Arab intellectuals appealed for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya .
One of the signatories, the Egyptian writer and commentator Hani Shukrallah, said: "Stopping Gaddafi and his family shopping in Harrods or on the Champs Elysées is not going to prevent him unleashing further bloodshed.
"It's time to stop fiddling about and get serious."

and Alain Badiou   ~