Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi appears to be taking increasingly brutal measures to put down a popular uprising against his 41 year rule. Italy’s foreign minister put the number of dead at up to 1,000 already.
A former Libyan army major said that the entire eastern section of the country was no longer under Gaddafi’s control. But Libya’s dissident deputy ambassador at the UN claimed it was a different story in the west.
Ibrahim Dabbashi said: “They (pro-Gaddafi forces) are attacking people in all the cities in western Libya. Certainly the people have no arms. I think the genocide started now in Libya. I think the … Gaddafi statement was just a code for his collaborators to start genocide against the Libyan people.”
Many Libyan ambassadors, his own interior minister, and a swathe of world leaders have rounded on Gaddafi for his desperately violent measures to retain power.
Despite a clampdown on information, pictures have made it onto the internet appearing to show the capital Tripoli paralysed. But witnesses have reported gunfire.
In his televised address on Tuesday Gaddafi called on loyalists to take over the streets and catch the anti-government protesters. A small contingent did demonstrate their support for him. But his support is shrinking.
It was a defiant Gaddafi who addressed his crumbling nation on TV thumping the lectern and promising to die as a martyr in Libya. But while he digs his heels in, governments around the world are scrambling to get their citizens out.