Friday, March 25, 2011

Libya: supporters rally in Gaddafi's home town Sirte

In the early hours groups of men paraded through the streets of Sirte, the town where Col Muammar Gaddafi grew up and has since built into a modern city.

Supporters, some as young as five, marched along the wide avenues shouting pro-Gaddafi slogans, holding posters of his photograph and waving green flags. Convoys of cars followed blowing horns and playing pro-regime music loudly on the radio.

They are part of a mobilisation in Col Gaddafi's half of the country - residents of Sirte and elsewhere are preparing to repel an invasion from the rebel-held east.

Col Gaddafi claims that criminal gangs and Islamic fundamentalists have seized control of the east. That has become the rallying point. "All the people are behind Gaddafi. Sirte is one of Libya's biggest cities and it is loyal in face of problems with gangs," said Sameer al-Kiriani, a government minder. "Look it is early in the morning and the people are here. Too many people are flocking here, the hotels are all full. This is the centre point for all the people who love their country."

Sirte is braced for action. Checkpoints that dot the main highways are manned by adolescents carrying newly issued Kalashnikov rifles. At sensitive sites, such as power transformers, militias are equipped with heavy machine guns mounted on pick-ups. Inside the town makeshift tents providing shelter for loyalists have been erected.

Local men and militia in combat fatigues vowed to defend the regime with their lives. Daoud Jamma, an Arabic teacher, said he had signed up for a gun. "I am here to save our country. We have to save it from these attacks," he said. "I will fight anyone who wants to take anything from my country. They just want this land because there is petrol here."


Post a Comment

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Grocery Coupons