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Gaddafi’s son warns of bloody civil war
Tripoli/beijing/Rabat, Feb 21 (IANS/AKI/Agencies):
Published on 22 Feb. 2011 1:00 AM IST
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Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s son warned Monday that the country faced a bloody civil war if anti-government protesters refused to accept offers of reform.
Amid reports of growing opposition to Gaddafi’s rule, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said in a televised speech that his father remained in charge with the army’s backing and would “fight until the last man, the last woman, the last bullet”.
Protests were reported to have spread Monday from regional towns and cities to the capital, Tripoli and gunfire could be heard ringing out as Saif Gaddafi’s lengthy speech was aired.
At least 233 people have been killed in Libya since protests broke out Feb 15 against the autocratic Gaddafi’s rule, according to US-based group Human Rights Watch.
The protest followed similar uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt which have since mid-January ended the long rule of both countries’ veteran leaders. Unrest has also hit Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria and Jordan. HRW urged governments to tell Libya to stop the unlawful killing of protesters amid accounts of authorities, reportedly backed by mercenaries, using live ammunition against them.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said the death toll was lower than 233 and condemned the unprecedented uprising against his father’s 41-year rule as a foreign plot. But he admitted that mistakes were made in the violent crackdown against protesters and urged citizens to build a “new Libya”.
China calls for unrest to be defused; “Jasmine” revolt
China’s domestic security chief said the government must find new ways to defuse unrest, underscoring Beijing’s anxiety about control even after police squashed weekend calls for gatherings inspired by Middle East uprisings.
Zhou Yongkang, the ruling Communist Party’s top law-and-order official, told cadres they had to “adapt to new trends and imperatives in economic and social development,” official newspapers reported on Monday.
“Strive to defuse conflicts and disputes while they are still embryonic,” he told an official meeting on Sunday, the China Police Daily and other papers reported.
Libyan diplomat in China resigns over unrest: Report
A senior Libyan diplomat posted in China has resigned and called on the army to intervene in the bloody uprising against leader Moamer Kadhafi, the Al-Jazeera news network reported Monday.
The diplomat, Hussein Sadiq al Musrati, stepped down in an on-air interview with Al-Jazeera and “called on all diplomatic staff to resign”, the Qatar-based satellite television channel reported on its website. The official also said Kadhafi “may have left Libya” and that there had been a “gunfight” between his sons, the network added, while noting it was unable to confirm those statements.
Thousands march in Moroccan cities
Thousands of people marched in Moroccan cities Sunday demanding King Mohammed VI give up some of his powers. In Moroccan capital Rabat, police allowed protesters, raising slogans like “The people reject a constitution made for slaves”, to approach parliament, the BBC reported.
A separate protest is under way in the country’s biggest city, Casablanca, and another was planned in Marrakesh, the report said.
Sunday’s rallies in Morocco have been organised by groups including one calling itself the “February 20 Movement for Change”.Over 23,000 people have extended their support to its Facebook site.
“This is a peaceful protest to push for constitutional reform, restore dignity and end graft and the plundering of public funds,” said Mustapha Muchtati of the Baraka (Enough) group.
Moroccan Finance Minister Salaheddine Mezouar had urged the people not to march, warning that any “slip may, in the space of few weeks, cost us what we have achieved over the last 10 years”.
Protests have spread across the region since popular movements in Tunisia and Egypt forced out their leaders.
Analysts say that unlike other countries in the Arab world that have seen protests, Morocco has a successful economy, an elected parliament and a reformist monarchy, making it less vulnerable to a major uprising than other countries.
“Most of what these people and organisations are calling for has been on the political scene for quite some time - political change, freedom, reform, change in the constitution,” political analyst Abdelhay Moudden told the BBC.
King Mohammed is a member of the Alaouite dynasty that has been ruling Morocco for some 350 years, claiming a direct line of descent from the Prophet Mohammad.

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