Libyan Revolt Comes Full Circle: Qaddafi Calls for Protests

A new audio message questions the new government's legitimacy

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Well, this is ironic. When Libyan security forces first opened fire on fledgling demonstrations in February, activists were protesting against the lack of jobs, opportunities, and political freedoms in Muammar Qaddafi's Libya. Now, eight months later, the fugitive Libyan leader is calling on Libyans to take to the streets "in their millions" to express outrage with the "unbearable" conditions in the country under the interim government. "Go peacefully," he urged in a new audio address, according to the BBC. "Be courageous, rise up, go to the streets, raise our green flags to the skies." He also questions the legitimacy of Libya's new leaders. "Did the Libyan people elect them? Did the Libyan people appoint them?" (Qaddafi himself frequently maintained that he was a figurehead like the Queen of England, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary).

Qaddafi broadcast his audio message on Syria-based Arrai television, which has become his primary mouthpiece now that he's on the run, While Qaddafi issued a flurry of audio message in the weeks immediately following the rebel capture of Tripoli, he stayed silent from September 20 until today. NATO, meanwhile, has announced that it will continue its seven-month bombing campaign (over 9,300 airstrikes has yet to do the trick). The new government's forces are currently struggling to capture Qaddafi's hometown of Sirte, despite numerous assurances recently that they were engaged in their "final" offensive on the coastal town, one of the last remaining Qaddafi strongholds.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.