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'Die, Gadhafi': Libya's embassies abroad defect

Aug 24, 2011 8:07:00 AM - thestate.com
Libyan diplomats and students smashed portraits of Moammar Gadhafi, shouted "Game over!" and raised the rebel flag at their Manila embassy Wednesday as part of defections at missions worldwide underscoring the leader's rapid fall.

As rebels stormed the Libyan capital and Gadhafi's power and influence abroad crumbled, Libyan consul Faraj Zarroug in the Philippine capital said about 85 percent of his country's 165 diplomatic missions now recognized the interim rebel government, the National Transitional Council.

"It's game over for Mr. Gadhafi!," Zarroug told The Associated Press. "Probably in a few days, everything will be over, hopefully. I'm very happy."

Libyan diplomats abroad have been pledging allegiance to the rebels gradually for months, but defections appeared to surge this week. The missions to Switzerland and Bangladesh, for example, switched soon after the rebellion erupted nearly six months ago, and Libyan embassy officials in Japan and Ethiopia replaced the government flag with the rebel's tricolor on Monday.

A spokesman for the rebels in Dubai, Edward Marques, said Wednesday the defections had turned into a "cascade," but declined to list the locations of rebel supporters. The Libyan government could no longer be reached for comment.

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