Gadhafi digs in as forces turn against him

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    Video testimonials from Libya

    STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    • Gadhafi criticizes a U.N. Security Council vote against his regime on Serbian TV
    • Clinton: “We recognize the killings are ongoing”
    • People race to banks to claim a $400 government handout

    Tripoli, Libya (CNN) — As relentless unrest enters a 14th day Monday, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi remained defiant and gave no indication of appeasing protesters’ demands for him to leave.

    But Gadhafi seemed increasingly cornered as security forces defected to the opposition in a town near the capital and the United Nations Security Council voted for tough restrictions and possible war crimes charges against the Libyan regime.

    On Sunday, Gadhafi criticized a resolution that the U.N. Security Council passed against his regime over the weekend, telling private Serbian station Pink TV by phone that council members “took a decision based on media reports that are based abroad.” He added, “If the Security Council wants to know about something, they should have sent a fact-finding committee.”

    The Security Council measures — which include an arms embargo, asset freeze, and travel bans for Gadhafi and members of his family and associates — also refer the situation unfolding in Libya to the International Criminal Court.

    Meanwhile, security forces said they had switched sides and joined the opposition in Zawiya, a town about 55 kilometers (35 miles) from the capital, Tripoli.

    CNN’s Nic Robertson, on a government-organized trip to Zawiya, saw armed civilians taking defensive positions on rooftops to prepare for a possible effort by Gadhafi loyalists to retake the town. Some buildings in Zawiya showed signs of damage Sunday, including a freshly burned-out police station. Hours earlier, Zawiya purportedly was controlled by the government, according to officials who drove members of the media to the town.

    About 2,000 people took part in an anti-government protest there, some standing atop tanks or holding anti-aircraft guns. They said they wanted the government overthrown, calling Gadhafi a “bloodsucker.”

    Later in the day, CNN witnessed two smaller pro-government rallies that had apparently been organized by government officials for international journalists to see, Robertson reported.

    The opposition now controls several Libyan cities after weeks of protests inspired by demonstrations that toppled longtime leaders in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt.

    The death toll from the recent unrest has topped 1,000, according to an estimate from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Security Council measures form “one of the speediest international responses to a government targeting its own people.”

    “We recognize the killings are ongoing,” Clinton told reporters en route to a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Switzerland. “We recognize we need to advance the humanitarian, the military, judicial, and even forensic planning already under way.”

    And Britain announced it was freezing the assets of Gadhafi, five of his children, and those acting on their behalf.

    But Gadhafi’s son, Saif, denied the government used force on its own people. In an interview that on ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour” Sunday, he was asked about numerous reports of attacks by government forces on civilians.

    “Show me a single attack,” he said. “Show me a single bomb. Show me a single casualty. The Libyan air force destroyed just the ammunition sites.”

    The younger Gadhafi — who is a prominent member of the government — also played down anti-government protests. Just because “10,000 or 5,000 people” demonstrate against his father, he said, doesn’t mean the entire population is against him.

    He had harsh words, however, for the Libyan diplomats who have turned their backs on his father, calling them “hypocrites.”

    “If you are strong, they love you. If not, they say goodbye. That is good. We get rid of them,” he told ABC.

    Since the recent protests in Libya began, several Libyan officials have resigned and taken the opposition’s side — including former Justice Minister Mustafa Abdul Jalil, who quit February 21 to protest the “bloody situation” and “use of excessive force” against unarmed protesters, according to Libyan newspaper Quryna.

    Over the weekend, Libya’s deputy ambassador to the U.N., Ibrahim Dabbashi, indicated he and fellow diplomats support “in principle” a caretaker administration under the direction of Jalil.

    About 100,000 people have fled from Libya to Tunisia or Egypt in roughly the past week, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said Sunday, citing reports from the Tunisian and Egyptian governments. The evacuees include Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans, and many from Asian countries.

    Tunisians on the border with Libya waved pre-Gadhafi-era Libyan flags in support of the opposition as tens of thousands surged towards the country that triggered the series of recent revolts in the Arab world .

    The Tunisian army, charities and ordinary Tunisians trying to help Libyans on the border. Refugees said Tunisians were offering them food, water and the use of phones.

    In Tripoli and Zawiya, crowds gathered Sunday as people rushed to banks to claim a government handout of 500 dinars (just over $400) per family.

    Pharmacies in Tripoli were running out of blood pressure and diabetes medicines, a source in the capital told CNN.

    Meanwhile, Gadhafi’s nurse went home to Ukraine. Galyna Kolotnytska gained notoriety in November after WikiLeaks released a cable from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli describing Gadhafi’s almost obsessive reliance on the woman, described as a “voluptuous blonde.” Kolotnytska’s daughter told CNN on Sunday her mother had returned but was not commenting.

    Protests began February 15 in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city. At least several other cities are now thought to be under opposition control, according to witnesses. There have been numerous reports of widespread violence — some of it perpetrated by foreign mercenaries and security forces loyal to Gadhafi, and some by protesters.

    While CNN has staff in some cities, the network could not independently confirm reports for many areas in Libya. CNN has also compiled information through telephone interviews with witnesses.

    CNN’s Ivan Watson, Eve Bower, Ben Wedeman, Salma Abdelaziz, Talia Kayali, Richard Roth, Jack Maddox and Whitney Hurst contributed to this report.


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    Gadhafi digs in as forces turn against him