Muammar Gaddafi vowed defiantly on Friday to triumph over his enemies, vigorously urging supporters in Tripoli's Green Square to protect the Libyan nation and its petroleum interests.

Addressing cheering supporters from the old city ramparts looking over Green Square, Gaddafi, wearing a winter jacket and a hunter's cap that covered his ears, said when necessary he would open Libya's arsenals of guns to the tribes.

We can crush any enemy. We can crush it with the people's will. The people are armed and when necessary, we will open arsenals to arm all the Libyan people and all Libyan tribes, said Gaddafi, who has lost swathes of his country to rebels.

Blowing kisses to supporters and then shaking both fists in the air in a dramatic performance, he said:

Get ready to fight for Libya! Get ready to fight for dignity! Get ready to fight for petroleum! .... Respond to them, put them to shame. and we can triumph over the enemies.

Gaddafi's supporters, some waving the green flags Gaddafi adopted for Libya, chanted in response to his incitment: With our blood and our souls we redeem you, Gaddafi!

Government forces shot dead at least two protesters in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Friday, Arab media reported, as the uprising against Gaddafi closed in on his stronghold.

TRIUMPH OVER ITALY

Becoming more animated and stretching out his hands to supporters from his vantage point above them, Gaddafi, 68, recalled the end of Italian colonial rule in the 1940s: This nation, we are the nation of dignity and integrity, this nation has triumphed over Italy.

Despite receiving roars of approval from his backers, anti-Gaddafi factions in the rebel-held second city of Benghazi were not impressed by the often rambling appearance.

When you cut the head off a rooster, it keeps running around. That's the stage Ghaddafi's at. He's finished, Mustafa Gheriani, a 54-year-old engineer, told Reuters.

Speaking on Thursday, Gaddafi had blamed a revolt against his rule on al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and said the protesters were fuelled by milk and Nescafe spiked with hallucinogenic drugs. Some had said he looked more conciliatory.

But Gaddafi on Friday delivered another robust and pugnacious speech, excitedly urging supporters to fight and celebrate: You must dance, sing, and prepare yourself ... this spirit you have is stronger than any other attempt by the foreigners and the enemies to destroy us.

Gaddafi shouted: Muammar Gaddafi is among you. I stand among the people and we will fight and we will kill them if they want ... Look at the people's force. This is the people's force that cannot be defeated.

To the outside world, Gaddafi said: Look Europe, look America, to this Libyan people. Here is Muammar Gaddafi among the people, among the youth. This is the Libyan people, this is the fruit of the revolution. The youth are enthusiastic. They want the revolution, they want dignity and glory.