Gaddafi says will arm civilians to defend Libya

March 20, 2011 00:33

TUNIS - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said on Saturday he will arm civilians to defend Libya from what he called "colonial, crusader" aggression by Western forces that have launched air strikes against him.

"It is now necessary to open the stores and arm all the masses with all types of weapons to defend the independence, unity and honor of Libya," Gaddafi said in a speech broadcast on state television hours after the strikes began.

"We call on the peoples and citizens of the Arab and Islamic nations, Latin America, Asia and Africa to stand by the heroic Libyan people to confront this aggression, which will only increase the Libyan people's strength, firmness and unity," he said.

He also said the Mediterranean and North Africa were now a battleground, and that the interests of countries in the region would be in danger from now on.

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