See also:
» 29.01.2013 - Libya peace very fragile, warns UN
» 31.03.2011 - Libya's Foreign Minister defects
» 24.03.2011 - How cyber-activism lent savvy to North African protests
» 18.03.2011 - Ten nations ready to attack Ghaddafi regime
» 18.03.2011 - Africa defies AU chief's support for Ghaddafi
» 18.03.2011 - France: We can start bombing Libya tonight
» 17.03.2011 - Libya rebels shoot down fighter jets
» 15.03.2011 - Ghaddafi thanks Germany, Russia and China

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Politics | Human rights

Tripoli reportedly "at lull before the storm"

Protesters in Tripoli earlier today, fleeing gunshots

© Anomymous/afrol News
afrol News, 22 February
- Opposition-controlled eastern Libya has been peaceful all day, while Tripoli is remarkably quiet before a widely expected counter-offensive from troops supporting the regime.

A large number of sources in eastern Libya independently confirm that the situation in these "liberated" parts of the country is quiet, under control and even joyful. In Benghazi, controlled by protesters since Sunday, people in the streets are chanting "Tripoli, come and join us," in support of the ongoing struggle in the capital.

Occasional reports of bomb shelling of Benghazi by Libyan warships have been rejected by a number of city residents, saying the city has been calm all day. Also in the rest of protesters-held eastern Libya, the situation is reported to be calm.

Indeed, currently only the capital and towns and cities close to it are not firmly in the opposition's hands. There are unconfirmed reports, though, that several places close to Tripoli also being taken over by the protesters.

The big question is what will happen in Tripoli this evening. Colonel Moammar Ghaddafi in a dramatic televised speech ordered his supporters - claiming these represented the majority of Libyans - to take to the streets and attack the protesters. He also ann

"Pro-Ghaddafi rally" allegedly taking place in central Tripoli today

© Libya state TV/afrol News
ounced brutal force would be used against those protesting.

There have been few and somewhat confusing reports coming out of the Libyan capital this afternoon and evening. There have been reports of gunshots from both armed troops and helicopters earlier today from several eyewitnesses, speaking both to international media and sending messages through social media.

But these reports have become fewer throughout the day; especially after Mr Ghaddafi's speech. Several claim that international phone lines are restricted or even cut.

However, some reports have come out of Tripoli. Libyan state TV during all the afternoon has shown footage of what appears to be a larger crowd protesting in favour of Mr Ghaddafi, demonstrating their love towards the leader. The footage came immediately after Mr Ghaddafi's speech, which for once was made without a significant audience.

The footage of pro-Ghaddafi rallies on state TV however clearly were not a live broadcast, as the jolly celebration of the leader was in bright daylight, while darkness was about to fal

Khamis al-Ghaddafi, Commander of the 32nd Brigade

© Présidence de la République Algérienne/afrol News
l in real-life Tripoli. Later - and ongoing - state TV footage of pro-Ghaddafi also seemed to have wrong lightening and no explanation was given to when and where the scenes took place.

Protesters in Tripoli have so far this evening not reported about major pro-Ghaddafi rallies. Protesters mostly have registered less security troop in the city this afternoon. Reports are however contradicting, with some sources talking about "people being killed wherever they are in the streets" and a "war zone" in Tripoli's central Green Square. But most agree there is now calm.

Current reports from Tripoli mostly focus on fears that this is only the lull before the storm. "People are leaving their homes expecting that they will never return," on Tripoli protester said this afternoon.

Unconfirmed reports talk about troops' movements close to the capital. The feared and well-equipped Khamis Brigade, led by Ghaddafi's youngest son Khamis, is reported to move into the capital, eyewitnesses have reported from Tripoli. This is seen as a sign of an upcoming bloodbath.

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