Moammar Gadhafi Says He Won't Leave, Blames Uprising on Foreigners

Libya's leader makes it clear he's not going anywhere.

ByABC News
February 22, 2011, 2:00 AM

Feb. 22, 2011— -- A defiant Col. Moammar Gadhafi declared today that he won't quit until he dies and blamed the Libyan uprising on foreigners and "rats" of international governments.

"I will not leave the country. I will die as a martyr in the end," Gadhafi, who has ruled for 42 years, said in a taped speech televised on state television. He warned of a civil war if protesters don't back down.

An angry and rambling Gadhafi said he was broadcasting from houses bombed by the United States and the United Kingdom. As for the protesters, he blamed the uprising on "rats" and agents of foreign governments and blamed Tunisia for manipulating the youth.

"A small group of young men that are using hallucinating 'pills' and drugs attacking police station like rats. They took advantage of Libya's calmness and attacked police stations," he said. "They are young men who got paid money and drugs. Those were the ones killed by the police. They are encouraged by external forces."

Reading from what appeared to be the Libyan constitution, Gadhafi vowed fierce punishment for dissenters.

"If we have to use force we will use it, according to international law and according to Libyan constitution," he said. "I will fight until the last drop of my blood with all the Libyan people behind me."

The embattled dictator, swaddled in brown clothes and speaking often in a passionate but erratic style, took to the television for the second time since the uprising began in the eastern part of the country this weekend.

In Tripoli, residents described a scene of chaos where foreign mercenaries trained by Gadhafi attacked not just protesters, but even residents.

Gadhafi is lashing back with force and brutality on a scale not yet seen in the revolutions that have been sweeping across the Arab world. Warplanes swooped over the country's capital reportedly bombing protesters, as foreign mercenaries -- a group that Gadhafi has recruited, trained and paid over the years -- indiscriminately fired at unarmed protesters.

"There's been constant gunfire for the past hour. Right outside our house," he told ABC News. "I saw them with my own eyes -- the AK 47s and the shootings. ... They're massacring. They're punishing the people. That's what's happening. And it's going to get worse because if you watched his speech, he said he's going to use force brutally and he's true to his word when it comes to that."

Tunisian radio interviewed a man who said helicopters were shooting randomly at people on the street and that people in cars are shooting from the windows as they drive by.

Tunisian radio also reported that in the wake of Gadhafi's inflammatory speech this afternoon, foreign nationals were attempting to head from Tripoli to Tunisia overland, and that they do not feel safe waiting at the airport in Tripoli.