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Muslim Brotherhood Urges Support for Libyan Protesters

Libyans who live in Greece remove the Libyan flag from a Libyan state school as another shouts slogans and holds the old flag of his country during a protest in Athens, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. About 60 Libyans gathered at the protest against Gadhafi's cra

A prominent member of the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Council has called on anti-government protesters to be, in his words, defiant and keep up the pressure on embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, adding there is need to get rid of the “mad dictator.”

Esam Alarian, spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, told VOA the international community should support the ongoing “revolution” in Libya to bring about what he described as democracy and freedom for all Libyans.

“We ask that the Libyan people [should] continue in their revolution to expel this dictator and that [they] should sacrifice and they will have the victory and win. And also, we appeal to all free men in all places in the world to be on the side of, and support, the Libyan people,” said Alarian.

“We ask the Arab League and the Egyptian government and the army to give support and also give aid to the Libyan people. We also ask the authorities in Egypt to make their best effort to bring the Egyptians there safety and to allow humanitarian aid to reach them,” he added.

This came after Gadhafi said in a state television broadcast Tuesday that anti-government protests will not force him out, and that he expects to die a “martyr” in that country. He also urged his supporters to help defend Libya against people he called “gangs” and “terrorists.”

Clenching a green book that appeared to be a guide to his political philosophy, he threatened the death penalty for anyone who takes up arms against Libya or engages in espionage.

Alarian called on the Arab League and Egypt’s interim government to support the anti-government protesters. He denied the Muslim Brotherhood wants an Islamic state in Libya.

“That is a madman [Gadhafi]; he is insane. Moammar Gadhafi does not know what he [is] speaking about. All Libyan people are protesting and having a revolution against him [and] he is saying the same things that [former] Presidents Mubarak and Ben Ali to accuse and [peddle] rumors that they are being threatened by Islamists and Muslim Brotherhood,” said Alarian.

“This is, of course, false and it’s just an allegation. Now, the people have the power to expel those dictators from power. We encourage them [protesters] to be brave and stand firm against the dictator and the victory will be for them,” he added.

Also Tuesday, one of Gadhafi's closest associates, Interior Minister Abdel Fattah Younis, announced his defection and support for the so-called “February 17th revolution.”

Other senior level Libyan officials, including ministers, diplomats and military officers, have abandoned the regime and announced their support for the rebellion.

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