The speech of Muammar Gaddafi on Tuesday caused unrest in Libya. Tripoli, the capital of Libya has very few supporters to Gaddafi according to local residents reports ABC Radio. In his speech, Mr Gaddafi swore to crush a growing revolt in his country and referred to the gangs of protesters as cockroaches. In the rambling address he said he was ready to die a martyr rather than lose his grip on Libya.

Tuesday’s speech, emphasized that his regime had withstood bombing “by 170 aircraft under the leadership of nuclear countries like America, Britain and Nato” – implying that where they failed local rebels cannot succeed. Gaddafi explained that like Ben Ali and Mubarak he cannot resign because technically Libya has no president. Gaddafi constantly asserts that he is just an ordinary Libyan citizen. His title, “Brother Leader and Guide of the Revolution”, is not a public office but a description of his historical role. Thus, it can never be taken away from him or bestowed on anyone else.

But Gaddafi does have one very important thing in common with Ben Ali and Mubarak. By continuing to bask in the glories of 1969, he has lost touch with his people. Most Libyans alive today have no recollection of King Idris or the revolution that overthrew him. For them, it’s a part of Libya’s past. But not part of its future.

According to the first official figures released by Mr Gaddafi’s regime, 300 people have been killed since the unrest broke out a week ago – 189 civilians and 111 soldiers. Human Rights groups estimate the death toll is much higher.

The two main Benghazi tribes have given their support to the protesters and tribal fighters have taken to guarding oil fields and refineries.

Soldiers in Tobruk claim the entire eastern region of the country is now in the hands of the protesters. There are also reports of fierce fighting in the north-western city of Sabratha.

European countries have been evacuating their citizens from Libya. Planes and frigates from Turkey, France and Russia have been sent to pick up thousands of their stranded nationals. A UK warship, HMS Cumberland, has been sent to the Libyan coast ahead of a possible evacuation.

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