Key Libyan diplomats disowned Moammar Gaddafi's regime and the country's deputy UN ambassador called on the longtime ruler to step down because of its bloody crackdown on protesters.
The Libyan ambassador to the United States also said he could no longer support Gaddafi, and the ambassador to India resigned. Almost all Libyan diplomats at the United Nations backed deputy ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi's pleas to Gaddafi to end his 40-year rule and to the international community to intervene.
As diplomatic support for Gaddafi began to crumble, Dabbashi warned that if he doesn't leave, "the Libyan people will get rid of him." Gaddafi's security forces unleashed the most deadly crackdown of any Arab country against the wave of protests sweeping the region, with reports yesterday that demonstrators were being fired at from helicopters and warplanes.
After seven days of protests and deadly clashes in Libya's eastern cities, the eruption of turmoil in the capital, Tripoli, sharply escalated the challenge to Gaddafi.
Libya's ambassador in Washington, Ali Adjali, told BBC World that the reports of firing from warplanes spurred his decision not to support the government any more. "To me it is a very sad moment seeing Libyans killing other Libyans," he said. "I'm not supporting the government killing its people. ... I'm (not) resigning Moammar Gaddafi's government, but I am with the people.
I am representing the people in the street, the people who've been killed, the people who've been destroyed. Their life is in danger." Dabbashi, the deputy UN ambassador, also said he and the UN diplomats were not resigning because they served the people of Libya and not the regime.
"This is in fact a declaration of war against the Libyan people," he told reporters, surrounded by a dozen Libyan diplomats. "The regime of Gaddafi has already started the genocide against the Libyan people."
Dabbashi said he was writing to the UN Security Council calling for action to stop the bloodshed. Libya's UN Ambassador Mohamed Shalgham was not present at Dabbashi's press conference.
He told the UN correspondent for the pan-Arab newspaper, Al-Hayat, that all diplomats at Libya's mission supported Dabbashi "excluding me." Shalgham said he was in touch with the Gaddafi government and was trying "to persuade them to stop these acts." Libya's Ambassador to India Ali al-Essawi, speaking to the BBC, said: "I want to make aware that I resign today from my position ... because of the using of massive violence against Libyan civilians."