A defiant Muammar Gaddafi has threatened to bring war to the “homes, offices, families,” of Europe unless Nato stops airstrikes against his regime in Libya.
The Libyan leader, facing an international arrest warrant for his brutal response to the rebel uprising, delivered the warning of vengeance in an audio message played to thousands of supporters in Tripoli’s Green Square.
“These people [the Libyans] are able to one day take this battle … to Europe, to target your homes, offices, families, which would become legitimate military targets, like you have targeted our homes,” he said.
“We can decide to treat you in a similar way. If we decide to, we are able to move to Europe like locusts, like bees. We advise you to retreat before you are dealt a disaster.”
Libyan state TV’s calls for a “million man march” produced one of the biggest pro-government rallies in recent weeks. Thousands of people in the city’s main square carried Gaddafi’s picture, waved green flags, unfurled green banners and let rip with a crescendo of shooting into the air.
Gaddafi addressed the mass gathering by speaking from an unknown location amid ongoing official concerns that he could be targeted for assassination.
He denounced the rebels as traitors and blamed them for Libya’s troubles. He said Libyans who fled to neighboring Tunisia are now “working as maids for the Tunisians. What brought you to this stage? The traitors.”
He urged his supporters to “march on the western mountains” to clear the area of weapons the French government delivered to the rebels there several days ago.
Among those in the crowd was Ize al-Den. “We’re supporting the leader,” the 38-year-old shop worker said. “He’s our father. He runs in all Libyans’ blood. Nato is not coming to protect civilians; there are other ways without bombing people. Look at Iraq: they want to steal our oil and control us.”
A soldier, who gave only his first name Fuad, 35, added: “All the people are here by their own will. Almost all people in Tripoli are against Nato. The leader is doing very well, very wisely.”
Abeellahm Ismaein, 33, an engineer, said: “This is not supporting the leader, it is supporting the country. The leader did not organise this demo; the people did. If Nato bombs Tripoli, the people will die here.”
The demonstration came four days after the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanoussi for crimes against humanity.
Source: The Guardian