March 4, 2011
Libyan security forces have used tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters after Friday prayers in Col Gaddafi’s stronghold of Tripoli. A BBC reporter in the flashpoint eastern suburb of Tajoura said demonstrators had burnt the official Libyan flag. Secret police had tightened security in the area earlier, and Gaddafi loyalists set up traffic checkpoints. Unrest was also reported in the town of Zawiya and the oil port of Ras Lanuf. Reports from Ras Lanuf described the sound of multiple explosions and heavy artillery on the outskirts of the port. Opposition fighters had reportedly advanced on the city. Pro-Gaddafi forces withdrew to Ras Lanuf two days ago after a battle. Rebels later said they had seized the airport at Ras Lanuf, while state television reported that the town of Zawiya had been retaken by pro-Gaddafi forces. There was no independent confirmation of either claim.