Sunday, 20 February 2011

Seif al-Islam Gaddafi criticizes protestors, army response, state media blackout

Libyan leader's son Seif al-Islam surprised Libyan protesters and opposition in a short statement on state TV today.

Seif, the Libyan heir-apparent until recently,  lambasted the protesters, and warned against a plot to divide Libya into regions.

A six-minute excerpt with English interpreting can be viewed here.

Arab news website Elaph also published main Arabic-language quotes in this report.

In his statement, Seif defended the government's deadly response, blaming media for a misreported number of casualties. According to his, only 14 died in Benghazi (HRW says 84 so far).

He said: "Libyans are sane and know their future. They are not the ones in the streets who take drugs and hallucinogenic pills.

"The Libyan army will have a principal role in restoring law and order. The Libyan army is not the Egyptian or Tunisian army.

"There is a rare historic change for reforms in Libya.

"Tomorrow we will launch an historic national initiative to hold a general people's congress [parliament] with clear agenda to approve press and civil society laws. A committee will be formed to set a constitution for Libya.

"Mistakes were committed by the army, which is not trained to control riots.

"Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya, BBC and the traitors living abroad will not trick us.

"The state media did not cover the events, and this was a mistake. Arab media [read Al-Jazeera] exploited this and became a source of erroneous information and rumours.

"Some individuals and news agencies exaggerated in reporting on what is happening."

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