“Again today, the news and pictures from Libya show that Colonel Qaddafi has declared war on the Libyan people. Such a government has lost all legitimacy,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel’s deputy spokesman.
“The federal government condemns in the strongest possible terms the mindless brutality and disrespect for human dignity,” added Christoph Steegmans at a regular news conference in Berlin.
He added that Germany and its EU partners were considering options for sanctions against Tripoli and stressed that its “highest priority” was securing the safety of the estimated 250 Germans still in the country.
“We are on the side of the people in Libya who are demonstrating peacefully for freedom, democracy and a better quality of life,” Steegmans said.
“Political change will come also to Libya and Germany and the EU is preparing to accompany this political process,” he added.
On Tuesday, Merkel had condemned as “very scary” a televised address by Qaddafi in which he vowed to hunt opponents of his regime, purging them “house by house” and “inch by inch.”
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told reporters there were an estimated 150 German citizens in the capital Tripoli and around 100 in other parts of the country.
On Tuesday, a special Lufthansa flight and two military aircraft were able to pull an estimated 350 German and other European citizens to safety, Westerwelle said.
He added that another Lufthansa plane, a government Airbus and two further military planes were available for further rescue missions.
An Airbus A340 plane landed at 10:00 pm at Frankfurt’s airport after a three-hour delay. Passengers, many relieved to be back on German soil, told of gunfire in the streets, empty supermarkets and a popular uprising that appears to be growing.
“There is a huge revolt going on there,” said Eva King-Leonhard. “The population is arming itself and many are buying up everything in the stores in a panic.”
Christian Treusch, who had been in Libya with his wife and two children, had one word for the last few days they spent in the country, rocked by protests and a deadly response by security forces: “Bad.”
“We didn’t see any dead bodies, but heard a lot of gunfire,” he said. He had originally gone to Libya on business and brought his family over six weeks ago.
“Now we’re just glad to be back,” he said.