Muammar Gadhafi denies that there is a populist uprising against his administration. While much of the world believes that events in Libya have common elements to student revolt in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, and other nations, Gadhafi claims that the violence in Libya is not the work of students, nor of insurgents, rather that of Islamic forces, terrorists, from outside of Libya.
Gadhafi was speaking to loyalists at a celebration of the 34th anniversary of “the people’s power”. “There is no other power but peoples power”, Gadhafi declared. The crowd chanted in his support as he said that, since 1977, he and the officers supporting him have handed over power to the people. He says it is a peoples committee that runs Libya, not he.
Gadhafi says that al-Qaeda is the force behind the uprising, and that al-Qaeda does not take part in demonstrations. The rebels holding some cities, he calls terrorists, and the loyalist forces he orates, will not surrender. “We will fight until the last man, the last woman, for Libya, from north, south, east and west,” Gadhafi said.
Even as he spoke, forces loyal to Gadhafi were fighting to retake the town of Brega, an oil refining and exporting terminal on the coast, five hundred miles from Tripoli. Also, television images showed an aerial attack on Ajdabiyah, where the consensus among most is that rebels, semi-trained, or untrained, young volunteers, dissatisfied Libyans, had taken control of a military base and ammunition dump. Gadhafi warned that if the United States or NATO were to become involved in the physical conflicts, there would be a bloody war, in which “thousands and thousands of Libyans” would die.
Gadhafi states his vision thusly: he is not “a president to resign, he does not have a parliament to dissolve.” He calls attacks on him, attacks on the “symbol, and dignity” of the Libyan people. Gadhafi says that the world does not understand the Libyan system that puts power in the hands of the people. The foreigners, he says, want Gadhafi to step down; “To step down from what? Gaddafi is just a symbol for the Libyan people!” Gaddafi said there were no protests in the cities of Benghazi and Derna, or in the eastern town of al-Baida. He said that terrorists released prisoners from jails and included them in their forces, “These are criminals, not political prisoners … there are no political prisoners in Libya … We had to destroy the weapons storages to prevent them from falling into the hands of the terrorists.”
Gadhafi has issued a call for the United Nations and NATO to investigate and accept his version of the bloodshed in Libya. He calls it a conspiracy to seize Libyan oil. He dares those agencies to find that peaceful protestors were killed. At the celebration in Tripoli, Colonel Gadhafi and his supporters raised clenched fists, and restated, “There is nothing else but people’s power,” and, “No room for a king, guardian, or master to replace people’s power.”