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Tripoli eyewitnesses: green flags, gunfire and shortages


Libya

Tripoli eyewitnesses: green flags, gunfire and shortages

There have been more emotional reunions as foreigners arrive home from Libya where many have witnessed the uprising and its aftermath at first hand.

Many western countries are trying to organise flights.

Those landing in Frankfurt included workers who had seen evidence of the damage in Tripoli.

“I did go the day before yesterday into the centre to work and we got sent straight back,” said John Dowley, from London. “We saw a few burned-out cars. The congress building, which is on one of the main roundabouts, had smoke coming out of it and that’s really it, that’s all we saw. Today in the airport it was absolute chaos, many people from North Africa trying to leave and get home… thousands.”

At least one person among a group of about 100 Bulgarians arriving home in Sofia suggested Gaddafi still had significant support – at least in the capital. “When we drove from the embassy across Tripoli we saw Gaddafi supporters everywhere, shouting euphorically ‘Gaddafi, Gaddafi’, waving green flags. And yesterday there was non-stop shooting,” said construction worker Zheko Gyurov.

Snezhana Dyakova, a medic, said: “I saw people running towards the main street armed with clubs. There was continuous shooting, from automatic weapons and big guns.”

“There never used to be a bread shortage in Libya, but now the bakery was selling only limited amounts,” said Lachezar Mateev, also a medic. “There was a huge queue of about 60 people, which was incredible. And there was no petrol, which for Libyans is what water and air are for us. It’s usually plentiful.”

Many countries are making their own arrangements to try to get their nationals out . Britain has sent a charter plane and despatched a Royal Navy frigate to help Britons.

Libya has an estimated one and a half million foreigners from all over the world – many trying to leave by land or air.

The International Organisation for Migration says many have joined thousands of Tunisians trying to escape by land over Libya’s western border.

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