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Libya's Qaddafi offers $400 per family as rebels close in on Tripoli

Libya's besieged leader, facing a rebel advance on Tripoli and possible international sanctions, also pledged a 150 percent increase in some government workers' wages.

By Correspondent / February 25, 2011



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As antigovernment forces and demonstrators draw nearer to Libya's capital, Tripoli, Col. Muammar Qaddafi appears to be further losing his grip on power.

In an attempt to appease the masses – possibly inspired by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, who promised his subject $36 billion in benefits to stave off any potential revolutionaries – Libya's besieged leader on Friday pledged a 150 percent increase in some government workers' wages and promised to give every family $400.

Libyan state television announced the wage increase and said each family would receive $400 to help them cope with the rising food prices. The broadcast aired shortly before Libyans went to mosques for Friday prayers. After prayers, antigovernment protesters are expected to continue demonstrating, reports MSNBC.

The announcement of financial incentives appeared to have little effect. Antigovernment forces claim to be taking control of areas throughout eastern Libya. They have already taken hold of Benghazi, the second-largest city in Libya and a longtime hub of government opposition. Even as large swaths of the country fall in to the hands of antigovernment forces, it appears that the Arab strongman who has ruled Libya for 41 years will not give up the capital city of Tripoli without a fight.

“If he lose [sic] control outside or not, to him the most important thing is my city, the capital Tripoli, and he doesn't want to let go. He doesn't understand. He doesn't care. He's just killing the people,” a woman in Tripoli told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The standoff may be coming soon. Violent clashes have come within 30 miles of the capital city. In the city of Zawiyah, one Libyan told Reuters that there was heavy fighting outside, but that security forces had been unable to penetrate the town.

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