February 22, 2011 / 6:42 PM / 8 years ago

Gaddafi nears his end, exiled Libyan prince says

* Crown Prince Senussi expects imminent end for Gaddafi

* Urges Gaddafi’s allies to end support

By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

RABAT, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Muammar Gaddafi’s violent struggle to remain in power will not last long, said the exiled crown prince of Libya, whose family he toppled in a 1969 coup.

Prince Muhammad as-Senussi, whose father, the former crown prince, and great-uncle King Idris were overthrown amid a series of revolts in the Arab world, said Libyans protesting against the leader’s long rule would be “victorious in the end”.

Gaddafi said on Tuesday he would not step down despite a nationwide revolt against his rule, vowing to die in Libya as a martyr.

“His fight to stay in power will not last long, because of the desire for freedom by the Libyan people. This great popular revolution will be victorious in the end, because of the unity of the Libyan people,” 48-year-old Senussi said in a statement from his home in London.

“The Libyan people have now chosen to challenge this regime peacefully until it is gone from Libya, and the people will not return to their homes until justice is delivered.”

After being overthrown by Gaddafi in 1969, the royal family was held under house arrest for a period. In 1988, they emigrated to Britain.

“The Libyan people have raised their voices in Benghazi and Tripoli and all other cities across Libya. They have made the whole world listen to them,” Senussi said.

He called on the international community to help stop the violence. “I ask especially those countries which have previously worked with the Gaddafi regime to exert pressure to stop the bloodshed in Libya,” he said. “I also ask them to halt all support for the dictator with immediate effect.”

Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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