* Angry Gaddafi vows to die as a martyr
* Revolt spreads to capital, global oil prices surge
* Refugees flee across border into Egypt
* Global condemnation of use of force
(Adds army deployment, pressure on Obama, Hague comments)
TRIPOLI, Feb 22 A defiant Muammar Gaddafi said
on Tuesday he was ready to die "a martyr" in Libya, vowing to
crush a growing revolt which has seen eastern regions break free
of his 41-year rule and brought deadly unrest to the capital.
Swathed in brown robes, Gaddafi seethed with anger and
banged the podium outside one of his residences that was damaged
in a 1986 U.S. bombing raid that attempted to kill him. Next to
him stood a monument of a fist crushing a U.S. fighter jet.
"I am not going to leave this land. I will die here as a
martyr," Gaddafi said on state television, refusing to bow to
calls from his own diplomats, soldiers and protesters who braved
a fierce crackdown to clamour in streets for him to go.
Huge popular protests in Libya's neighbours Egypt and
Tunisia have toppled entrenched leaders, but Gaddafi said he
would not be forced out by the rebellion sweeping through his
vast oil producing nation of just 7 million people, which
stretches from the Mediterranean into the Sahara.
"I shall remain here defiant," said Gaddafi, who has ruled
the mainly desert country with a mixture of populism and tight
control since taking power in a military coup in 1969.
The White House said the international community must speak
with one voice in response to the "appalling violence" in Libya
and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United
States would take "appropriate steps" in time.
But Washington has little leverage over Libya, which was a
U.S. adversary for most of Gaddafi's rule until it agreed in
2003 to abandon a weapons-of-mass-destruction programme and
moved to settle claims from the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Gaddafi had declared
war on his people and told a news conference she would back
sanctions on Libya if Gaddafi did not stop the violence.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon accused Libya of firing
on civilians from warplanes and helicopters. The U.N. Security
Council met in closed session to discuss the crisis and the U.N.
high commissioner for human rights said "systematic attacks" on
civilians may amount to "crimes against humanity".
For more stories on Middle East unrest click [ID:nLDE71F0BK]
For BREAKINGVIEWS on Libya, click on [ID:nLDE71K0R0]
For graphics click r.reuters.com/nym77r
Interactive factbox link.reuters.com/puk87r
For quotes on unrest in Libya [ID:nLDE71L148]
But Gaddafi was unrepentant. Anti-government protesters were
"rats and mercenaries" who deserved the death penalty, he said
in the rambling, 75-minute speech. Gaddafi said he would call
upon the people to "cleanse Libya house by house" unless
He urged Libyans to take to the streets to show their
loyalty. "All of you who love Muammar Gaddafi, go out on the
streets, secure the streets, don't be afraid of them ... Chase
them, arrest them, hand them over," he said.
Libya's official news agency quoted him as telling Italian
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi that "Libya is fine, its people
are ... holding on to its security".
But British Foreign Secretary William Hague said there were
"many indications of the structure of the state collapsing in
Libya". Britain and other European nations have said they are
trying to evacuate nationals from Libya by plane. [nLDE71K2CF]
Several hundred people held a pro-Gaddafi rally in Tripoli's
central Green Square on Tuesday, a Reuters reporter there said.
"Our leader!" and "We follow your path!", they chanted, waving
green Libyan flags and holding aloft portraits of Gaddafi.
"There are several hundred (Gaddafi) supporters making their
way into the city centre. They are in cars, making lots of noise
and carrying his portrait," said a resident of the Mediterranean
coastal city of 2 million, which is key to controlling Libya.
In Sabratah, 50 miles (80 km) west of the capital, the
Libyan army had deployed a "large number" of soldiers after
protesters destroyed almost all the security services offices,
the online Quryna newspaper said.
Refugees streaming across Libya's eastern border into Egypt
said Gaddafi was using tanks, warplanes and foreign mercenaries
to fight the growing rebellion.
The reports of the bloody crackdown have put pressure on
President Barack Obama to intervene, with U.S. politicians
criticising his silence and calling for military actions ranging
from bombing Libyan airfields to imposing no-fly zones.
Eastern Libya is no longer under Gaddafi's control, rebel
soldiers in the city of Tobruk told a Reuters reporter there.
Tobruk residents said the city had been in the hands of the
people for three days. They said smoke rising above the city was
from a munitions depot bombed by troops loyal to one of
Gaddafi's sons. There was the occasional explosion.
"All the eastern regions are out of Gaddafi's control ...
The people and the army are hand-in-hand here," said former army
major Hany Saad Marjaa. [ID:nLDE71L1U3]
Al Jazeera reported Libya's Interior Minister Abdel Fattah
Younes al Abidi had defected to join the rebels. It aired video
footage showing Abidi at his desk reading a statement urging the
Libyan army to join the people and their "legitimate demands".
On the Libyan side of the border with Egypt, anti-Gaddafi
rebels armed with clubs and Kalashnikov assault rifles welcomed
visitors. One man held an upside-down picture of Gaddafi defaced
with the words "the butcher tyrant, murderer of Libyans", a
Reuters correspondent who crossed into Libya reported.
Hundreds of Egyptians flowed out of Libya on tractors and
trucks, telling harrowing tales of state violence and banditry.
The U.N. refugee agency urged Libya's neighbours to grant
refuge to those fleeing the unrest.
Egypt's new military rulers, who took power following the
overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11, said the main
crossing with Libya would be kept open round-the-clock to allow
the sick and wounded to enter.
In the eastern town of Al Bayda, resident Marai Al Mahry
told Reuters by telephone that 26 people including his brother
Ahmed had been shot dead overnight by Gaddafi loyalists.
"They shoot you just for walking on the street," he said,
sobbing uncontrollably as he appealed for help.
Protesters were attacked with tanks and warplanes, he said.
"The only thing we can do now is not give up, no surrender,
no going back. We will die anyways, whether we like it or not.
It is clear that they don't care whether we live or not. This is
genocide," said Mahry, 42.
Human Rights Watch said 62 people had died in clashes in
Tripoli in the past two days, on top of its previous toll of 233
dead. Opposition groups put the figure far much higher.
The revolt in Libya, the third largest oil producer in
Africa, has driven oil prices to a 2 1/2 year high above $108
LCOc1 a barrel, and OPEC said it would produce more crude if
supplies from member Libya were disrupted. [ID:nLDE71L1UU]
As the fighting has intensified some supporters have
abandoned Gaddafi. Tripoli's envoy to India, Ali al-Essawi,
resigned and told Reuters that African mercenaries had been
recruited to help put down protests.
"The fall of Gaddafi is the imperative of the people in
streets," he said. The justice minister also quit and a group of
army officers urged soldiers to "join the people".
A showman-like figure with his flowing robes and a penchant
for female bodyguards, Gaddafi has been one of the most
recognisable figures on the world stage.
He was shunned for much of his rule by the West, which
accused him of links to terrorism and revolutionary movements.
U.S. President Ronald Reagan called him a "mad dog" and sent war
planes to bomb Libya in 1986.
Gaddafi was particularly reviled after the 1988 Pan Am
airliner bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, by Libyan agents in
which 270 people were killed.
(Reporting by Tarek Amara, Christian Lowe, Marie-Louise
Gumuchian, Souhail Karam; Brian Love, Daren Butler; Dina Zayed,
Sarah Mikhail and Tom Perry in Cairo and a Reuters correspondent
in Libya; Henry Foy in New Delhi; Writing by Jon Hemming and
Dominic Evans; Editing by Michael Roddy)