TRIPOLI, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi warned Libyans that protests will lead to chaos in the country, in a phone-in to state TV Thursday, according to Dubai-based Al- Alabiya TV.
"If you want to live in this chaos, it's up to you," he told Libyans, adding that he felt sorry for those who got killed in the clashes.
He called on protesters to lay down their weapons, accusing some of the protesters of acting under the impact of drugs.
He said that the United States and the West must have a hand in the country's unrest.
Gaddafi accused members and agents of Al-Qaida of standing behind the protests and unrest that swept Libya, calling for its members to be arrested.
He said Al-Qaida wants to build "an Islamic emirate" in Libya, adding protests in Libya have links with Osama bin Laden.
Gaddafi said he only has "moral authority" in Libya. "I don't have the power to issue laws. The authority is at the hands of the people," he told the official TV. Gaddafi called on residents in Zawiyah city west of Tripoli to go on streets and fight protesters gathering in the city.
Heavy gunfire was reportedly heard in the town of Zawiyah, about 50 km west of the Libyan capital, which had become one of the country's areas where fierce clashes took place.
The Libyan government has reportedly seen defection of its security forces and resignation of diplomats since the protests broke out on Feb. 16.
The country's state TV said a total of 300 people including 111 soldiers and 189 civilians have been killed in the unrest in the past week.
The security chief of the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi announced his resignation Thursday and joined protests over a heavy-handed security crackdown against protesters in the city.