Libya Protest - Reuters 23.02.2011
Protesters in Libya on February 23, 2011 Photo by Reuters
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The Libyan People's Committee for General Security on Thursday called on protesters to surrender their weapons and offered rewards for those who provide information on protest leaders, in a statement broadcast live on Libyan TV.

Libyan security has cracked down on anti-government protesters and fighting has spread to the capital Tripoli after erupting in Libya's oil-producing east last week with no signs of Leader Muammar Gadhafi stepping down after 41 years in power.

"He who submits his weapon and shows remorse will be exempted from being pursued legally. The committee calls on citizens to cooperate and inform on those who led on the youth or supplied them with money, equipment or intoxicating substances and hallucinatory pills," the statement said.

The committee also said those cooperating would be given money.

"A lucrative monetary reward will be given to anyone who contributes or informs on them," the statement, read out by a Libyan army officer, said on television monitored in Cairo.

Gadhafi has lost control of a significant section of the country, at least from Egypt's border to Benghazi, more than 500 km away. Gaddafi, who has ruled Libya with a mixture of populism and tight control since taking power in a military coup in 1969, has promised to "cleanse Libya house by house" to crush the revolt.

Also Thursday, a Libyan witness claimed that a Libyan army unit had blasted a minaret of a mosque in a city west of Tripoli.

The witness told The Associated Press by telephone that several protesters, who have been camped inside and outside the mosque while demanding the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi, have been killed or seriously wounded in Thursday's attack.

The witness from Zawiya added that the military used anti-aircraft missiles and automatic weapons and attacked the protesters around 9:00 A.M. The witness spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals and the report could not be independently confirmed.

The witness also said the attack came one day after a Gadhafi aide came to the city and warned the protesters to leave or face a massacre.