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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Libya's Gaddafi urges backers to "kill" enemies

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, marked the 37th anniversary of the coup d'etat that brought him to power on Thursday by urging his supporters to "kill enemies" if they asked for political change.

The hardline comment, made in a speech on state television, runs counter to recent hopes of political reform in the North African country of 5 million.

Opponents abroad had said they hoped that Gaddafi might hint at political change in Thursday's speech.

His influential son Saif al-Islam recently told Libyans their country was in a political impasse and needed reforms to free it from what he called the grip of "Libyan mafia" which monopolizes power and wealth.

But Gaddafi said those who hope for political change in Libya see its people as "ignorant and immature".

"Thanks God. Our revolution has won ... and the whole world accepts our revolutionary project as it benefits all peoples across the world," he said.

"Our enemies have been crushed inside Libya and you have to be ready to kill them if they emerge anew," he said.

"Our political path is the correct one as it grants freedom to the whole people, sovereignty, power and wealth to the whole people," Gaddafi said, referring to Libya's Jamahiriya direct democracy system, which opposes Western liberal democracy and criminalises the creation of opposition parties.

Gaddafi's comments appeared to be aimed at energizing his supporters following a flurry of speeches in which he severely criticized the country's economic and social performance.

"If the enemy shows up you must finish it off because the enemy appears to exterminate you. We can not tolerate that the enemy undermines the power of the people and the revolution," Gaddafi said in a clear reference to political opponents, most of them based abroad.

He also called on Libyans to make their country more prosperous. "We have to set money aside to make the 1.1 million relatively poor Libyans rich," he said.

Gaddafi proposed that poor Libyans set up oil services companies to replace foreign firms in the country.

"Foreign services companies working in Libya earn millions. Why do we not earn these millions which currently go to foreigners?" he asked.
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