Tripoli/London, Feb 24 (IANS) Embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi Thursday said Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his followers are responsible for the violent anti-government protests in his country, a media report said.
According to BBC, Gaddafi told state TV that young people were being duped with drugs and alcohol to take part in “destruction and sabotage”.
In a phone call from the town of Al Zawiya, broadcast live on TV, Gaddafi said the protesters had no genuine demands and were being dictated to by the Al Qaeda leader.
The telephone call was said to be an address to the people of Al Zawiya, 50 km west of the capital, where there has been renewed gunfire reported in the streets.
Gaddafi is battling to shore up control of Tripoli and western areas. Protesters have been consolidating gains in cities in the east.
Gaddafi said that Libya was not like Egypt and Tunisia, which have seen their leaders deposed, because the people of Libya had it in their own hands to change their lives through committees.
“This is your country and it is up to you how to deal with it,” he said.
He called on families to rein in their sons, saying many of the protesters were underage and beyond the reach of the law, the report said.
But he vowed that those carrying the violent protests would be put on trial.