<excerpts from AP article />
CAIRO – A defiant Moammar Gadhafi vowed to fight to his "last drop of blood" and roared at supporters to strike back against Libyan protesters to defend his embattled regime Tuesday, signaling an escalation of the crackdown that has thrown the capital into scenes of mayhem, wild shooting and bodies in the streets.
"You men and women who love Gadhafi ... get out of your homes and fill the streets," he said. "Leave your homes and attack them in their lairs."
State TV showed a crowd of Gadhafi supporters in Tripoli's Green Square, raising his portrait and waving flags as they swayed to music after the address.
Swathed in brown robes and a turban, wearing reflective sunglasses, he at times screamed, his voice breaking, and shook his fists — then switched to reading glasses to read from a green-covered law book, losing his train of thought before launching into a new round of shouting.
He spoke from behind a podium in the entrance of his bombed-out Tripoli residence hit by U.S. airstrikes in the 1980s and left unrepaired as a symbol of defiance.
At times the camera panned back to show the outside of the building and its towering monument of a gold-colored fist crushing an American fighter jet. But the view also gave a bizarre image of Gadhafi, waving his arms wildly alone in a broken-down lobby with no audience, surrounded by torn tiles dangling from the ceiling, shattered concrete pillars and bare plumbing pipes.
"Libya wants glory, Libya wants to be at the pinnacle, at the pinnacle of the world," he proclaimed, pounding his fist on the podium. "I am a fighter, a revolutionary from tents. ... I will die as a martyr at the end," he said, vowing to fight "to my last drop of blood."
Gadhafi portrayed the protesters as misguided youths, who had been given drugs and money by a "small, sick group" to attack police and government buildings. He said the uprising was fomented by "bearded men" — a reference to Islamic fundamentalists — and Libyans living abroad.
He urged supporters to take to the streets to attack demonstrators, saying police would not interfere.
"Forward, forward, forward!" he barked at the speech's conclusion, pumping both fists in the air as he stormed away from the podium. He was kissed by about a dozen supporters, some in security force uniforms. Then he climbed into a golf cart-like vehicle and puttered away.