Libya protests: Gaddafi embattled by opposition gains

libyans_protestThe area controlled by Libya’s embattled leader Col Muammar Gaddafi is shrinking, reports say, as the opposition consolidates its gains.

Witnesses say the capital, Tripoli, is heavily guarded by pro-Gaddafi forces, with tanks deployed in the suburbs.Videos on the internet suggest a town 50km (30 miles) west of Tripoli has fallen to anti-government forces.

Thousands of foreigners are meanwhile still trying to flee Libya through ports, airports and overland.The US, China and many European countries have sent in planes, ships and ferries to help people flee.


Thousands of people, many of them African migrants, have also poured across Libya’s land borders, in vans piled high with furniture and luggage.

Col Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, went on television on Wednesday evening to say that everything was “normal”.

In the eastern city of Benghazi, residents have been queuing to be issued with guns looted from the army and police in order to join what they are calling the battle for Tripoli.

A number of military units in the east say they have unified their command in support of the protesters.

The BBC’s Jon Leyne, in eastern Libya, says Col Gaddafi appears to be in control of an ever smaller area, possibly readying himself for a last stand at his home in Tripoli.

Reports indicate the area is heavily guarded by loyalists, including armed militiamen in vehicles, our correspondent says.

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