February 22, 2011 / 4:07 PM / 9 years ago

Libyan ambassadors in France back revolt

PARIS, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Libya’s ambassador to France and another diplomatic envoy from Tripoli threw their weight behind the revolt against leader Muammar Gaddafi on Tuesday, a Libyan official said.

Gaddafi’s forces have cracked down on demonstrators demanding an end to his 41-year-old rule and Human Rights Watch says at least 233 people have been killed.

An official from Libya’s offices at the headquarters of the Paris-based U.N. agency UNESCO read out a statement in the name of Tripoli’s ambassador to France, Mohamed Salaheddine Zarem, and its ambassador to UNESCO, Abdoulsalam El Qallali.

“We announce to the people of Libya, the Arab world and the international community our support for the people in its revolt against the machine of oppression and aggression,” said the statement read by the official to Reuters.

The official relayed the message on condition of anonymity, adding that neither of the ambassadors had resigned.

Neither ambassador was immediately available to comment.

About 100 people were demonstrating against the Libyan leader outside the embassy in Paris on Tuesday crying out “Gaddafi assassin! Sarkozy accomplice!” and brandishing banners saying “Stop the massacre”. (Reporting by John Irish, Elisabeth Pineau and Hortense de Roffignac)

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