Libyan regime 'arming civilians'Embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is arming civilian supporters in order to quash dissents in Tripoli with checkpoints and roving patrols, the capital's residents have claimed.
The reports came a day after protesters demanding Colonel Gaddafi's removal were fired upon by pro-regime militiamen to stop the first significant anti-government marches in days in the city.
The Libyan leader, speaking from the ramparts of a historic Tripoli fort, told supporters to prepare to defend the nation as he faced the biggest challenge to his 42-year rule, with rebels having seized control of about half of the country's coastline.
"At the suitable time, we will open the arms depot so all Libyans and tribes become armed, so that Libya becomes red with fire," Col Gaddafi said.
The international community stepped up its response to the bloodshed, while foreigners were evacuated from the chaos-riven North African nation.
The UN Security Council plans to meet for a second day to consider an arms embargo against the Libyan government and a travel ban and asset freeze against Col Gaddafi, his relatives and key members of his government.
US president Barack Obama signed an executive order on Friday freezing assets held by the Libyan leader and four of his children in the US. The Treasury Department said the sanctions against Col Gaddafi, three of his sons and a daughter also apply to the Libyan government.
In Tripoli, most residents remained in their homes, terrified of bands of armed men running checkpoints and patrolling the city.
A 40-year-old business owner said he had seen one pro-Gaddafi supporter enter one of the regime's Revolutionary Committee headquarters and leave with arms.
He said the regime is offering a car and money to any supporters bringing three people with them to join the effort.
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