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Gaddafi vows to crush the revolt "house by house" as protests escalate

As reports emerge of key government resignations and troops aligning with protesters, other countries prepare to evacuate their citizens from Libya.

Image: AP Photo/Libya State Television via APTN

LIBYAN LEADER MUAMMAR GADDAFI has vowed to crush the revolt against his power “house by house”, despite the reported resignation of key officials from his government.

In a televised address yesterday, Gaddafi said he has no position to resign from, adding: “I have my gun and I will fight until the last drop of my blood is spilled”.

He accused “bandits” and “a bunch of young people” of copying what had happened in Egypt and Tunisia. He also claimed these people had been given drugs and told to go burn and steal.

Human Rights Watch says up to 300 people have died so far and says it has received reports of “random” government shootings targeting civilians. People have been unable to remove bodies from the streets, according to one of HRW’s sources, because anyone seen doing so was being shot.

Today, Reuters quotes the Italian foreign minister saying that estimates of 1,000 people killed in the Libyan unrest are credible.

Al Jazeera reports that key members of Gaddafi’s cabinet have resigned over the unrest, as the uprising escalates and protesters gain control in more parts of the country. Despite the Libyan leader’s claims of stable state rule, British foreign minister William Hague said there are signs of state collapse.

Yesterday, protesters near the Egyptian border have claimed that Libyan troops have taken their side and joined the anti-Gaddafi push, Reuters reports.

[caption id="attachment_89286" align="alignnone" width="511" caption="Libyan protesters celebrate victory over Gaddafi in Musaid, Libya, yesterday after Libyan troops reportedly joined them."][/caption]

Yesterday, the UN Security Council called on the Libyan government to immediately end its violent response to the protests and condemned the use of force against civilian protesters. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, called for an independent investigation into the attacks on demonstrators.

Pillay criticised the “callousness with which Libyan authorities and their hired guns are reportedly shooting live ammunition at peaceful protesters”.

The UN’s refugee agency the UNHCR also voiced its concerns over the violence, saying it fears asylum seekers and refugees may inadvertently get caught up in it.

Over a dozen countries, including Ireland, have begun operations to evacuate their citizens from Libya. Two Irish Air Corps planes are currently in Malta, awaiting the green light to enter Libya and collect a group of about 40 Irish people.

Watch Gaddafi’s speech, televised yesterday in Libya:

In photos: Irish Defence Forces fly to Libya to evacuate Irish citizens >

Read: Gaddafi refuses to resign – and says he will die a martyr if necessary >

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