Gaddafi men get trigger-happy

Militias loyal to Muammar Gaddafi opened fire on Friday on protesters streaming out of mosques and marching across the Libyan capital to demand the regime’s ouster, witnesses said, reporting at least four killed. In rebellious cities in the east, tens of thousands held rallies in support of the first Tripoli protests in days. In the capital’s Souq al-Jomaa district, protesters came under fire from gunmen on rooftops as they tried to march to Tripoli’s Green Square. “There are all kind of bullets,” said one man in the crowd.

One witness reported seeing three protesters killed in Souq al-Jomaa, and another reported a fourth death in the district of Fashloum, where another rally was trying to march to the center. Gunmen opened a hail of bullets on thousands heading toward the center from Tajoura, a crowded impoverished district on the eastern side of the capital, a participant said.

Gunfire was reported near Green Square itself where dozens of militiamen opened fire in the air to disperse protesters coming out of a near-by mosque. Other armed Gaddafi supporters were speeding through streets in vehicles, said another witness. The call for regime opponents to march from mosques after prayers was the first attempt to hold a major ant-Gaddafi rally in the capital since early this week, when militiamen launched a bloody crack-down on protesters that left dozens dead. In the morning and night before, SMS messages were sent around urging, “Let us make this Friday the Friday of liberation,” residents said.

Signaling continued defiance, Gaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam, vowed his family will “live and die in Libya”, according to an excerpt from an interview to be aired later Friday on CNNTurk. AskedĀ  about alternatives in the face of growing unrest, Gaddafi said” “Plan A is to live and die in Libya, Plan B is to live and die in Libya, Plan C is to live and die in Libya.” Several tens of thousands held a rally in support of the Tripoli protesters in the main square of, Benghazi, where the revolt began.

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