This post is part of our special coverage Libya Uprising 2011.
Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Al Gaddafi spoke for more than three hours on state television Wednesday, March 2, denying that anti-government protesters and members of the military were mobilizing against his regime. Instead the dictator, who has been in power for four decades, blamed Islamic terror groups, foreign nations with colonial aspirations and the international media for creating stories about the Libya's descent into chaos.
“I dare you to find that peaceful protesters were killed,” he said. “In America, France, and everywhere, if people attacked military stores and tried to steal weapons, they will shoot them.”
Speaking to loyalists and members of the foreign press at a ceremony celebrating more than three decades of “people power,” Gaddafi covered a lot of ground during his speech, including: His disdain for the Egyptian revolution in February; his anger at international media for not covering pro-government demonstrations; and the fact fleeing foreigners will create more jobs for Libyans.
Gaddafi spent much time tying the country's upheaval to a foreign conspiracy — led by the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) — to grab Libya's oil and enslave the country. He also told the crowd that thousands of people will die if foreign forces enter Libya.
On Twitter, people offered their commentary during the speech with a hint of ridicule that is now customary when Gaddafi speaks.
Gaddafi is speaking to a crowd of mainly men, seated inside a hall. Foreign press is there. #libya #feb17
@Dima_Khatib: Signal on Libyan State TV is back but Gaddafi's voice was heard intermittently earlier, sounding more like a techno song !! #libya #feb17
@ChangeInLibya: Whoever is responsible for jamming gaddafi is an absolute GENIUS. #libya #feb17
@JustAmira: Are all of Gaddafi's cheerleaders on drugs?
@mosaaberizing: I can understand hiring mercenaries to fight, but bringing them in to attend his speech and clap at intervals is a new touch. #GaddafiSpeech
Hahahahaha, Aljazeera Arabic get bored yet AGAIN and cut off gaddafi's speech #libya #feb17
During Gaddafi's speech a man in Benghazi is holding a sign that reads: “Breaking News – Gaddafi is lying” !! #libya #feb17
Loving Benghazi's people. On split screen you can see them writing instant response posters to his nonsense #feb17 #Libya #Gaddaficrimes
“Breaking News: Gaddafi is Lying,” from Libyan Youth Movement's Facebook page.
@JustAmira: How many more speeches Gaddafi? We believe u: there are no protests. No one died. Move on
Looking at faces of men attending Gaddafi's speech, I would say they look more bored than I am ! Some look half-asleep #libya #feb17
Even with a few technical difficulties, many people quoted parts of the speech directly:
@NicRobertsonCNN:#Gadhafi said anyone who opens door to aid to #Libya will be accused of treason — he said we have enough food and supplies.
Gaddafi: Italy didn't thank us for defending its embassy. We will bring Indian & Chinese firms to replace the Western companies in #Libya
@NicRobertsonCNN: #Gadhafi threatened attacks on US 6th Fleet and warned there will be no peace in the Mediterranean if there is no peace in #Libya.
Qaddafi's metaphor : “If a rat comes into your cave, the best way to fight him is to burn the whole cave down” #Libya
Gaddafi: There is no more unemployment in #Libya after the Egyptians & Tunisians left
Al Jazeera showing images of Libyans holding their shoes up to Gaddafi
@SultanAlQassemi: Gaddafi: In Libya there are no political prisoners, not one. Because politics belongs to the people, we want people to take authority
@Dima_Khatib: Gaddafi explains why Arab media is not telling truth about #Libya by saying Arabs envy Libyan people because of oil and vast area #feb17
@SultanAlQassemi: Gaddafi: They took over dangerous arms so the military started bombarding the weapons depots so the terrorists don't take them over
@Dima_Khatib: Gaddafi : Obama is not a yankee and adventurer like Bush & Clinton #libya #feb17 #obama
Gaddafi: i was told Cameron froze the Libyan assets, I put 2 fingers in his eyes, it is not mine, they belong to Libyan banks #Libya #Feb17
@SultanAlQassemi:On Al Arabiya now. Gaddafi: I am ready to sit with any Emir (leader) from Al Qaeda & debate with him
@SultanAlQassemi: Gaddafi: Men, women, children all over Libya went out to demonstrate for me, the TV stations didn't cover them, we have it all on tape.
After Gaddafi finished speaking, a few tweeps provided their impressions:
@TrablesVoice: too much air activity in tajoura area, also Pro-Qaddafi are outside with cars and horns celebrating their Leader.
@JustAmira: After listening to Gaddafi talk, wondering how all international media managed to convince us that anyone at all would want him out
#Gaddafi is positively Nero-esque this morning. Rambling incoherently for over 2 hours while he bombs and burns his people.
@Dima_Khatib: Gaddafi deserves every condemnation possible. But how many like him and worse than him deserve it too for massacres they committed? #libya
@libi4ever: I will miss u Qadffi, no 1 can lie like u, no1 can make laugh loudly like u #libya #17feb