Gaddafi's grip weakens, appears on TV like Mubarak to placate protesting youths...Says I've not fled as Arab League meets

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Muammar Gaddafi
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi appeared on state television on Tuesday signalling his defiance in the face of a mounting revolt against his 41-year rule.

"I am in Tripoli and not in Venezuela," he said, under a large umbrella in the rain and leaning out of the front seat of a van.

Reports on Monday said Gaddafi had fled to Venezuela.

Gaddafi, in his first televised appearance since protests to topple him started last week, said "I wanted to say something to the youths at the Green Square (in Tripoli) and stay up late with them but it started raining. Thank God, it's a good thing," Gaddafi said in a 22-second appearance.

State TV reported earlier that pro-government demonstrations were taking place in Green Square in central Tripoli.

Libyan forces loyal to Gaddafi have fought an increasingly bloody battle to keep the veteran leader in power with residents reporting gunfire in parts of the capital Tripoli and one political activist saying warplanes had bombed the city.

Scores of people have been reported killed in continuing violence in Tripoli amid escalating protests across the north African nation.

Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani, Qatar's prime minister and foreign minister, called for an extraordinary meeting of the Arab League to take place on Tuesday. The aim is to discuss the current crisis in Libya and to put additional "pressure" on the government, Al-Thani told Al Jazeera.

He said the international community must act now. "I feel a big sympathy for the Libyan people. We don't accept using force in this way or any way against the people or against any nation from their governments.," he said on Monday.

"And we make our declaration in this space and we think that the international community should also take a stand against what is happening in Libya at the moment."

"I think the security council has to play a role.. the condemnation is not enough.. i think the five permanent members and others, they should take the responsibility and do something to help the civillian people in Libya, because what happens is not accepted in any way."