Topic: Protests against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya

Thousands of Gaddafi's supporters gather in Libyan capital

Thousands of Gaddafi’s supporters gather in Libyan capital

© REUTERS/ Chris Helgren

13:54 06/03/2011

Thousands of supporters of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi marched in the streets of Tripoli to celebrate the recapture of the western city of Zawiyah by forces loyal to the Libyan leader, Al-Jazeera satellite TV channel reported on Sunday.

Gaddafi’s supporters waved flags and fired their guns in the air in the Libyan leader’s main stronghold. Earlier, the city woke to the sounds of heavy machine-gun fire. The Libyan authorities said the heavy gunfire early on Sunday was celebratory, claiming that government forces had retaken the costal city of Zawiyah.

The government lost control of Az Zawiyah, some 60 km (37 miles) to the west of Tripoli, in late February and the city was viewed as a platform for an attack on the country’s capital to oust Gaddafi.

The military offensive on Zawiyah began on Friday night and by Saturday morning Gaddafi’s army, using heavy artillery and tanks, managed to break through the opposition defenses.

At least 30 people were reported killed during the battle for the town on Saturday. Eyewitnesses say they saw numerous bodies in the streets and many people wounded.

The television said the pro-Gaddafi forces were now heading for Libya’s second largest city of Benghazi in the east of the country, the stronghold of the Libyan opposition.

Inspired by the recent ouster of authoritarian regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, opponents of Gaddafi are demanding an end to his 42-year rule. More than 2,000 people have been killed in clashes that began in the North African country on February 15.

CAIRO, March 6 (RIA Novosti)