I’m hoping the reports coming from Tripoli of government buildings burning and the main radio station commandeered by the protesters are indications that Gaddafi is finished. Tripoli has always been Gaddafi’s major political support base, and if he has lost control there then it is over for him and his regime. Latest updates-
Protesters in Libya’s capital are reported to have set fire to government buildings and attacked the headquarters of state television as the anti-Gaddafi demonstrations that began in the east of the country threaten to engulf the regime. Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets overnight clashing with police and shouting anti-Gaddafi slogans as tribal leaders demanded an end to the violent government crackdown. There were also reports that some soldiers in the east had defected to the opposition, in a revolt that has killed more than 230 people.
Witnesses said that the brutal crackdown, that began in the country’s second city of Benghazi, has spread to the capital overnight with reports of automatic gunfire and teargas in Tripoli for the first time since the unrest began. The government building where the general people’s congress, or parliament, meets was reported to be on fire and there were separate reports that protesters had attacked the headquarters of the state television network.
Another source, Salem Gnan, a London-based spokesman for the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, says he has spoken to protesters in Tripoli and Benghazi today-
They surrounded Gaddafi’s residence in Tripoli this morning and tried to get in but there was very heavy fire from inside the compound and many people were killed; the person I spoke to told me 80 people have died there. There had been “many thousands” of anti-regime protesters on the capital’s street before Libya’s security forces opened fire earlier this morning.
The protesters ran away and have dispersed now; they are hiding because of the fire but they will be back because they do not have anything to lose now. Tripoli was the last place for Gaddafi and now it will decide what happens. I expect there will be a lot of bloodshed and a lot of people killed because this is the last chance for both sides. But [the protesters] are going to finish this.
Gnan said he had also spoken to demonstrators in the eastern city of Benghazi.
They are being bombed by helicopter gunships and jet aeroplanes because Gaddafi wants to punish the place where this started … They were screaming, saying “please help us, help us” because a lot of people are being killed in the bombings. It is a very terrible situation.
I knew many Libyans in Benghazi and Tripoli and the country towns. They were good people, and I hope they are faring well. Their bravery in finally rising up against the murderous and well armed Gaddafi regime is inspirational.
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