Obama Hails Libyans for Besting a Tyrant
He calls on Gadhafi to relinquish power to avoid more bloodshed
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Aug 22, 2011 12:05 AM CDT
President Barack Obama speaks to people on Martha's Vineyard today.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) – President Obama has hailed the Libyan rebels surging through the streets of Tripoli as heroes as the city slips "from the grasp of a tyrant." The Gadhafi regime "is showing signs of collapsing," he declared. The people have proven that the "pursuit of dignity and freedom is far stronger than the iron fist of a dictator." In order to avoid more bloodshed, Gadhafi must "acknowledge the reality that he no longer controls Libya," said the president. "He needs to relinquish power once and for all."

Obama called on the rebels' Transitional National Council, which the US now recognizes as the "legitimate governing authority" of Libya, to respect the rights of the people, avoid civilian casualties and pursue a "peaceful transition to democracy," AP reports. He added: "The future of Libya is now in the hands of the Libyan people."