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Gaddafi: All my people love me

Colonel Gaddafi has declared that the Libyan people love him and would die to protect him.

He was speaking as volunteers pleaded for international help as the country began to experience food and medical shortages.

In the rebel-held east, workers said they were running low on fresh produce while in the capital some shops had closed, with others limiting the amount they were willing to sell as prices rocketed.

Gaddafi showed no sign of doubt of his country's continued loyalty. “All my people love me,” he told foreign reporters in Tripoli. “They would die to protect me.”

But elsewhere a public health volunteer painted a far bleaker picture, warning that supplies of food in the country's second city Benghazi could reach crisis point, with many shops and factories still closed since the city fell to protesters a week ago.

“We will have serious shortages of food, drink, medicine and medical equipment in two weeks, three weeks maximum. We need outside help,” said Khalifa el-Faituri.

While the port and border with Egypt remain open, thousands of migrant workers have fled the country. “I'm struggling to find basics for my family. Bread, vegetables. Prices have gone up by 75%,” said restaurant waiter Ayman Ahmed (50).

In the capital, where long lines were forming outside banks to receive the equivalent of £250 per family that Colonel Gaddafi has pledged in an effort to shore up loyalty, the price of staples such as rice has risen by 500%.

In Paris, Prime Minister Francois Fillon said France was sending humanitarian supplies to Benghazi — the first western aid. Mr Fillon said military options remained open so that “Gaddafi understands that he should go”.

But the Libyan leader appeared to understand no such thing. Last night he laughed at suggestions that he would leave the country after the White House said that exile would be an option.

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