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The battle continues in Libya


CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

The battle continues in Libya

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Tripoli, Libya (CNN) — Throngs of people took part in a boisterous demonstration today supporting Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi and insisting that the government had triumphed in recovering key Libyan cities, despite witness accounts that the opposition maintained control in some of those sites.
In the eastern Libyan town of Misrata, a fierce battle was under way, as people seeking an end to Gaddafi’s 42-year-rule fought his heavily armed forces.
“People are willing to die for the cause,” a witness said, describing them as “fearless” and “amazing.” The rebels are using machine guns or, in some cases, just sticks to fight off pro-Gadaffi forces who use tanks and heavy artillery.
Even as the witness described the heavy fighting under way, pro-Gadaffi demonstrators in the capital of Tripoli said they were celebrating the government’s victory in Misrata.

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The size of such rallies praising the 68-year-old leader do not offer a clear sign of how much support he actually has. Throughout the uprising, which began February 15, witnesses in Tripoli have described the government using all methods to drum up crowds, including forcibly dragging people to them, while keeping anti-Gadhafi demonstrators off the streets.
Today, police forces searched cars to try to ensure that no anti-Gadaffi protesters were out on the streets, though some still managed to venture out, another witness said.
Traces of bullets and blood could be seen in some districts near Tripoli’s Green Square, and people were mopping the streets and cleaning the walls, the witness said.
A government official said early-morning gunfire heard in the Libyan capital was celebratory, marking the army’s victory in the city of Zawiya and its presence in the strategic oil town of Ras Lanuf. 

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