Pier Paolo Cito/AP
Aisha Gadhafi, daughter of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, addresses Libyan people at the Bab Al Azizia compound in Tripoli.
Aisha Gadhafi, daughter of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, addresses Libyan people at the Bab Al Azizia compound in Tripoli. Pier Paolo Cito/AP
Aisha Gadhafi delivered a defiant speech speech in Tripoli today, saying "The suggestion of Gaddafi stepping down is a provocation to all Libyans. Gadhafi is not in Libya but in the hearts of Libyans." Aisha made the public appearance at her father's Bab al-Azizia compound, where since the beginning of the Allied airstrikes Gadhafi supporters have gathered to act as human shields. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan ordered airstrikes on the compound that reportedly killed one of Gadhafi's daughters.
The Guardian sets the scene:
Just a few hours earlier, Nato warplanes had flown sorties over Tripoli. Explosions and responding gunfire and anti-aircraft fire echoed around the capital, destroying at least one military site and causing blast damage to a nearby university cafeteria.
Aisha's message was one of uncompromising defiance. Referring to the strike in 1986, she said: "They rained down on us their missiles and bombs, they tried to kill me and they killed dozens of children in Libya. Now a quarter of a century later the same missiles and bombs are raining down on the heads of my and your children."
Below her was a statue of a giant golden fist crushing a western warplane in its grip. The throbbing crowd – mainly men, but including hundreds of women separated to one side – appeared intoxicated on love and loyalty.
Reuters reports that Aisha said the West's demand that her father step down was an "insult" to Libyans." The event was held to mark the 25th anniversary of the U.S. airstrikes on the compound.
Here's some video of the scene from The Telegraph: