"We uphold our dignity and ours is a jihad of the heroes", Gaddafi says at Liberation square

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    Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, has made an unexpected appearance in Green Square, speaking to a crowd of his supporters.

    “We can defeat any aggression if necessary and arm the people,” Gaddafi said, in footage that was aired on Libyan state television on Friday.

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    “Dance … sing and get ready … this is the spirit … this is much better than the lies of the Arab propaganda,” he said.

    He referred to Libya’s war of independence with Italy, in a speech that appeared to be aimed at rallying what remains of his support base, with specific reference to the country’s youth.

    “I am in the middle of the people.. we will fight … we will defeat them if they want … we will defeat any foreign aggression,” he said.

    His last speech, on Thursday evening, had been made by phone, leading to speculation about his physical condition.

    The footage aired on Friday, however, showed the leader standing above the square, waving his fist as he spoke.

    Tarik Yousef, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute in Washington, told Al Jazeera that most of the individuals on Green Square are genuine Gaddafi supporters.

    “Most of these people have known nothing else but Gaddafi. They don’t know any other leader. And many of them stand to lose when Gaddafi falls. I am not completely surprised that they still think that he is the right man for Libya,” Yousef said.

    “What is striking is that he [Gaddafi] did not talk about all the liberated cities in his country. This was a speech intended show his defiance and to rally against what he calls foreign interference. But even his children have admitted that the east of the country is no longer under the regimes control.”

    Anti-Gaddafi protesters shot


    His speech came on a day that tens of thousands of Libyans in the capital and elsewhere in the country took to the streets calling for an end to his rule.

    As demonstrators in Tripoli following the midday prayer, security forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, reportedly began firing on them. At least six had been killed, according to the Associated Press news agency.

    There was heavy gun fire in various Tripoli districts including Fashloum, Ashour, Jumhouria and Souq Al, sources told Al Jazeera.

    “The security forces fired indiscriminately on the demonstrators,” said a resident of one of the capital’s eastern suburbs that has seen previous clashes between opponents of the regime and its remaining loyalists.

    “There were deaths in the streets of Sug al-Jomaa,” the resident said.

    The death toll since violence began remains unclear, though on Thursday Francois Zimeray, France’s top human rights official, said it could be as high as 2,000 people killed.

    Dissent reaches mosques

    Violence flared up even before the Friday sermons were over, according to a source in Tripoli.

    “People are rushing out of mosques even before Friday prayers are finished because the state-written sermons were not acceptable, and made them even more angry,” the source said.

    Libyan state television aired one such sermon on Friday, in an apparent warning to protesters.

    “As the Prophet said, if you dislike your ruler or his behaviour, you should not raise your sword against him, but be patient, for those who disobey the rulers will die as infidels,” the speaker told his congregation in Tripoli.

    Soldiarity with Tripoli

    During Friday prayers a cleric in the town of Mselata, 80km to the east of Tripoli, called for the people to fight back. Immediately after the prayers, more than more than 2000 people, some of them armed with rifles taken from the security forces, headed towards Tripol to demand the fall of Gaddafi, Al Jazeera’s Nazanine Moshiri reported.

    The group made it as far as Tajoura, where it was stopped by a group loyal to Gaddafi. They were checked by foreign, French-speaking mercenaries and gunfire was exchanging, resulting in an unknown number of casualties, Moshiri reported, based on information from witnesses who had reached on the Libyan-Tunisian border.

    People in eastern parts of the country, a region believed to be largely free from Gaddafi’s control, held protests in support for the demonstrations in the capital.

    “Friday prayer in Benghazi have seen thousands and thousands on the streets. All the banners are for the benefit of the capital, [they are saying] ‘We’re with you, Tripoli.'” Al jazeera’s Laurence Lee reported.

    In the town of Derna, protesters held banners with the messages including “We are one Tribe called Libya, our only capital is Tripoli, we want freedom of speech”.

    Al Jazeera’s correspondent, who cannot be named for security reasons, reported on Friday that army commanders in the east who had renounced Gaddafi’s leadership had told her that military commanders in the country’s west, which Gaddafi still largely maintains control over, were beginning to turn against him.

    They warned, however, that the Khamis Brigade, an army special forces brigade that is loyal to the Gaddafi family and is equipped with sophisticated weaponry, is currently still fighting anti-government forces.

    Pro-democracy protesters attacked

    On Friday morning, our correspondents reported that the town of Zuwarah was, according to witnesses, abandoned by security forces and completely in the hands of anti-Gaddafi protesters. Checkpoints in the country’s west on roads leading to the Tunisian border, however, were still being controlled by Gaddafi loyalists.

    In the east, similar checkpoints were manned by anti-Gaddafi forces, who had set up a “humanitarian aid corridor” as well as a communications corridor to the Egyptian border, our correspondent reported.

    Follow more of Al Jazeera’s special coverage here

    Thousands massed in Az Zawiyah’s Martyr’s Square after the attack, calling on Gaddafi to leave office, and on Friday morning, explosions were heard in the city. Witnesses say pro-Gaddafi forces were blowing up arms caches, in order to prevent anti-government forces from acquiring those weapons.

    Clashes were also reported in the city of Misurata, located 200km east of Tripoli, where witnesses said a pro-Gaddafi army brigade attacked the city’s airport with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.

    They told Al Jazeera that pro-democracy protesters had managed to fight off that attack. “Revolutionaries have driven out the security forces,” they said, adding that “heavy machine guns and anti-aircraft guns” had been used against them.

    Mohamed Senussi, a resident of Misurata, said calm had returned to the city after the “fierce battle” near the airport.

    “The people’s spirits here are high, they are celebrating and chanting ‘God is Greatest’,” he told the Reuters news agency by telephone.

    Another witness warned, however, that protesters in Misurata felt “isolated” as they were surrounded by nearby towns still in Gaddafi’s control.

    Government loses oil terminal

    Protesters and air force personnel who have renounced Gaddafi’s leadership also overwhelmed a nearby military base where Gaddafi loyalists were taking refuge, according to a medical official at the base. They disabled air force fighter jets at the base so that they could not be used against protesters.

    Soldiers helped anti-Gaddafi protesters take the oil terminal in the town of Berga, according to Reuters.

    The oil refinery in Ras Lanuf has halted its operations and most staff has left, according to a source in the company.

    The UN’s highest human-rights body was held a special session on Friday to discuss what it’s chief had earlier described as possible “crimes against humanity” by the Gaddafi government.  Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, urged world leaders to “step in vigorously” to end the violent crackdown.

    The United Nations Security Council was to hold a meeting on the situation in Libya later in the day, with sanctions the possible imposition of a no-fly zone over the country under Chapter VII of the UN charter on the table.

    The Swiss government, meanwhile, has ordered a freeze of any assets belonging to Gaddafi in the country. Libya’s foreign ministry has denied that any such assets exist, and said that it would “sue” Switzerland