Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Qaddafi's Grip on the Capital Tightens as Revolt Grows
By Kareem Fahim and David D. Kirkpatrick
The New York Times, February 22, 2011
"Vowing to track down and kill protesters "house by house," Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya tightened his grip on the capital of Tripoli Tuesday, but the eastern half of the country was slipping beyond his control. A bloody crackdown drove protesters from the streets of Tripoli, where residents described a state of terror. The independent group Human Rights Watch said it had confirmed 62 deaths in two hospitals after a rampage Monday night, when witnesses said groups of heavily armed militiamen and African mercenaries cruised the streets in pickup trucks spraying crowds with machine gun fire. The death toll was likely higher; one witness said militia forces appeared to be using vans to cart away bodies. After Colonel Qaddafi's televised speech Tuesday night, thousands of his supporters converged in Tripoli's central Green Square, wearing green bandanas and brandishing oversized machetes. Many loaded into trucks headed for the outlying areas of the city, where they occupied traffic intersections and appeared to be massing for neighborhood-to-neighborhood searches. 'It looks like they have been given a green light to kill these people,' one witness said. [...] Wearing a beige robe and turban and reading at times from his manifesto, the Green Book, Colonel Qaddafi called the protesters 'cockroaches' and blamed the unrest shaking the country on foreigners, a small group of people distributing pills, brainwashing, and young people's naïve desire to imitate the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. He urged citizens to take to the streets and beat back the protesters, and he described himself in sweeping, megalomaniacal terms. 'Muammar Qaddafi is history, resistance, liberty, glory, revolution,' he declared. [...]"

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