Cairo, Feb 22 (IANS/RIA Novosti) A group of Libyan army officers has urged the military to “join the people” and march on the capital Tripoli to oust long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi, Al Jazeera said Tuesday.
Libya’s airspace was briefly closed late Monday but opened in the early hours of Saturday, allowing an Austrian army transport plane with 62 European citizens to take off.
Meanwhile, Gaddafi appeared on the national TV Tuesday to personally “dismiss false reports” that he had fled the country and headed to Venezuela.
“I am in Tripoli and not in Venezuela,” he said.
Earlier reports said Libyan army chief General Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabil was placed under house arrest for failing to tackle the protests while the country’s border guards crossed into Egypt, leaving the state border virtually unprotected.
Many Libyan politicians and diplomats openly expressed their support to protesters, including Justice Minister Mustapha Abdul Jalil.
According to international organisations, up to 500 people have been killed by government forces since protests against Gaddafi began Feb 15. Thousands have been wounded. Authorities officially confirm 84 deaths.