Cairo, Feb 22 (IANS) Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi Tuesday refused to step down amid widespread anti-government protests, which he said had tarnished the image of the country, BBC reported.
In his first major speech since the unrest began Feb 14, Gaddafi said the whole world looked up to Libya and that the protesters were “serving the devil”.
He said he would not leave the country and would “die a martyr”.
According to rights groups, nearly 300 people have been killed in violence since the protests began.
A defiant and angry Gaddafi said he had brought glory to Libya.
As he had no official position in Libya from which to resign, he would remain the head of the revolution, he said.
He blamed the unrest on “cowards and traitors” who were seeking to portray Libya as a place of chaos and to “humiliate” Libyan people.
The protesters had been given drink and drugs, he claimed, calling on “those who love Muammar Gaddafi” to come on to the streets in support of him, telling them not to be afraid of the “gangs”.
“Come out of your homes, attack them in their dens. Withdraw your children from the streets. They are drugging your children, they are making your children drunk and sending them to hell,” he said.
“If matters require, we will use force, according to international law and the Libyan constitution,” he said.