By Ria Novosti
A group of Libyan army officers has called on the military to “join the people” and immediately march on the capital Tripoli to oust the country’s longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi, Al Jazeera reported on Tuesday.
Libya’s airspace was briefly closed late on Monday, but opened in the early hours of Saturday, allowing an Austrian army transport plane with 62 European citizens onboard to take off.
Meanwhile, Gaddafi appeared on the national TV on Tuesday to personally “dismiss false reports” that he had fled the country and headed to Venezuela.
“I am in Tripoli and not in Venezuela. Do not believe the channels belonging to stray dogs,” he said.
Earlier reports said Libyan army chief General Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabil was placed under house arrest for failure to tackle the protests, while the country’s border guards crossed into Egypt, leaving the state border virtually unprotected.
Many Libyan politicians and diplomats openly expressed their support to protestors, including Justice Minister Mustapha Abdul Jalil.
According to international organizations, up to 500 people have been killed by government forces since protests against Gaddafi began February 15, and thousands more have been wounded. Authorities officially confirm 84 deaths.