August 11, 2011 / 9:43 AM / in 6 years

Libya says Irish, Scottish mercenaries tame UK riots

RABAT (Reuters) - Libyan state television on Thursday said Prime Minister David Cameron was using “Irish and Scottish mercenaries” to tame riots in England.

“The rebels of Britain approach Liverpool in hit-and-run battles with Cameron’s brigades and mercenaries from Ireland and Scotland. God is Greatest,” said a breaking news caption on Libyan TV’s morning program.

British warplanes and ships, along with those of several NATO allies, have been attacking the forces of the Libyan leader for months to stop them shelling rebel cities and forces bent on toppling Gaddafi.

Gaddafi is accused of hiring mercenaries mostly from African states to fight the rebels.

Cameron ordered a surge in police numbers this week to calm London and other cities across England after four days of often unchecked street disorder and looting embarrassed his government and English authorities.

Libya’s “mercenary” taunt was part of a morning show traditionally aimed at drumming up sentiment for Gaddafi.

“These (riots in Britain) are not protests fomented by foreign intelligence services,” said the show host, contrasting the turmoil in Britain with what Tripoli calls a foreign-hatched plot to unseat Libya’s lawful government .

On Wednesday, the Libyan government turned Western rhetoric back on Cameron, saying he “has lost his legitimacy and must go”. -- a formulation that London, Washington and Paris have used to demand Gaddafi quit power after 41 years.

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