Gunfire scatters marchers

Updated: 2011-03-05 07:48

(China Daily)

Twitter Facebook Myspace Yahoo! Linkedin Mixx

Gunfire scatters marchers

Libyans perform Friday prayers under pouring rain in Benghazi as loyalist forces launch a fresh airstrike on Libyan rebels' territory in the east, and pumped-up opposition fighters push forward against Muammar Gadhafi's regime. Marco Longari / Agence France-Presse

Gadhafi loyalists try to contain protest in Tripoli

TRIPOLI, Libya - Forces loyal to Muammar Gadhafi fired tear gas at protesters in Tripoli on Friday as a fierce crackdown that has terrorized parts of the capital the past week seemingly smothered attempts to revive demonstrations calling for the Libyan leader's ouster.

More than 1,500 protesters marched out of the Murad Agha mosque after noon prayers in the eastern Tripoli district of Tajoura, chanting "the people want to bring the regime down" and waved the red, black and green flag of Libya's pre-Gadhafi monarchy, adopted as the banner up the uprising.

But pro-Gadhafi forces quickly moved in. They fired volleys of tear gas and - when the marchers continued - opened fire with live ammunition, according to witnesses.

It was not clear if they fired at the crowd or into the air, but the protesters scattered, many of them taking refuge back in the mosque, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene. A doctor said several people were wounded and taken to a nearby hospital.

The clampdown underscored the strong hold Gadhafi has maintained over Tripoli, in stark contrast to much of the country. The entire east has fallen into the hands of the rebellion, as have several cities in the west close to his bastion in the capital. The rebels - ragtag forces of armed residents backed by some military units - have repelled repeated attacks by pro-Gadhafi forces trying to take back their territory.

Interference claimed

The anti-government protest in Libya has become an armed rebellion supported by foreign parties, instead of a peaceful movement, Libyan government spokesman Mousar Ibrahim told Xinhua on Thursday.

"We are in crisis, no doubt, but not as the reports of some media. There are 144 foreign journalists here now who have found no evidence of massacres or killings. All they have found are individual cases here and there, which are armed rebellions against the government," Mousar said.

The protests have escalated into bloody clashes between pro-Gadhafi troops and anti-government protesters in several cities, killing hundreds of people of both sides, according to Mousar.

"These are not peaceful protesters but armed individuals, many of whom are affiliated to fundamental Islamic groups," Mousar said.

"They attacked military bases and police stations," he said, adding "the point is that it is not a peaceful movement toward political change, but an armed rebellion. No country in the world, of whatever political system, would allow this".

Meanwhile, Mousar referred the UN resolution 1970, which imposes a weapon cargo ban on Libya, as "one of the biggest jokes in the history of the UN", saying that the UN should send a fact-finding mission, instead of making decisions "completely based on media reports".

"You cannot just accuse an alleged 'crime' based on media reports, and then take it to court without giving the party a chance to defend itself. It is absurd," the spokesman said.




NPC & CPPCC sessions

Lawmakers and political advisers gather in Beijing to discuss major issues.

Self-made aircraft

An automobile mechanic in Northeast China made a test flight of his self-made aircraft which cost about US$395.

Venetian Carnival

Masked revellers celebrate in Saint Mark's Square in Venice.

All about the Year of the Rabbit
President Hu visits the US
Ancient life