Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in a long, fighting and disjointed speech on state television this afternoon promised that he would not give up, as other leaders had done.

He said that 'cowards' were trying to distort the truth and giving a wrong picture of what was happening in Libya. Libyans, he said, were being shown as being 'bad people'.

The Libyan people, he said, should hold their heads high against the leaders of the world who were conspiring against them and wanted to tarnish the reputation of the people and the country.

Gaddafi said he would not give up and would resist to the end of his life because this was his country, watered by the Libyan people's blood.

The Libyan people, he said, would defy the tyranny of the United States and other countries.

"I am a warrior" Col Gaddafi said. He was fighting to give dignity to the country against a bunch of rats who were paid to disfigure the country.

"I am not going to leave this land, and I will die here as a martyr'.

The enemies, he said, knew that Col Gaddafi was not an ordinary person. His house had been bombed, his children had been killed. And the rats were with the United States.

But the Libyan people would not give up, Africa would not give up. Libya had defeated the colonialist Italy, the US and Britain, and would remain defiant.

Col Gaddafi said innocent people had been attacked in their homes and the streets by youths who had been manipulated. Such crimes, he said, would be investigated and the people would be defended.

This, he said, was a small, paid group used by others who stayed at home.

Col Gaddafi recalled how he, as the head of the revolution, had liberated Benghazi and Tobruk, ousting the American and British bases. The current generation should remember the high price which their fathers had paid for Libyan liberation, and their honour would not be tarnished.

The administration of the country, Col Gaddafi said, was in the hands of the people through their committees and congresses. He was calling on the people to administer the oil resources of the country through new municipal committees.

Referring to Benghazi (which is in protesters' hands), Col Gaddafi said he was calling on the people to liberate and purify that part of Libya and let it be run by its own people, not others. The young people in Benghazi should know that they had been duped and did not know what they were doing.

Tripoli, he said, was free and should be administered by its people.

The masses, he said, should take to the streets and form new committees and municipalities for local administration.

Those who sided with Gaddafi and the revolution should secure the streets and remember the evacuation of the Americans and the return of oil assets to the Libyan people, he added.

Force, he said, woudl be used according to Libyan and international law.

Col Gaddafi said that since he was not president, since he had no position, he would not resign. But he had his gun and he would fight for Libya.

The people should not let their young get drunk and be misled, he said. The gangs, like cockroaches, did not represent anyone, they were nothing, just a handful trying to imitate what had happened in Egypt and Tunisia after being drugged.

From tomorrow, he said, the police and the army would impose security. If these cockroaches were allowed to prevail, Libya would slide into darkness and lose its oil.

He had rebuilt Benghazi but they had destroyed it. They had also destroyed its airport. Other cities such as Derna had also been attacked.

But they had to be repulsed and the US should not be allowed to occupy Libya like Afghanistan. The enemy had to be chased and the terrorists had to be hanged. Anybody who took arms against Libya would be executed. Those who waged war against Libya would be put to death. Those who facilitated entry of the enemy into Libya or handed over Libyan cities would be executed.

Reading from a law book, Gaddafi said that all those who used force against the people would be punished by death. The same applied for those who took part in or instigated civil war,

Col Gaddafi said he had not ordered anyone to start firing yet, because had he done so, everything would be set ablaze and Libya would end up like Somalia.

He said the millions of Libyans should restore order, take back their oil assets and do what they liked with it.

Rebellion in Waco in the US , the coup in the Soviet Union and in Tiananmen Square had been repulsed with tanks because unity was more important, he said. Libya would also do whatever it takes not to allow part of the country (Benghazi and Derna) to be taken away.

After a number of long pauses, during which he read from sheets of paper, Col Gaddafi called on opponents to give up their weapons, their drugs and their ring leaders, and said that shops should reopen as normal.

It was unacceptable, he said, for the country to be torn apart or handed to the crazy people who did not know their history.

The speech, which lasted for more than an hour, ended at 6.06 p.m. At its end Col Gaddafi was hugged by an army officer.

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