By Monday night, witnesses said, the streets of Tripoli were thick with special forces loyal to Colonel Qaddafi as well as mercenaries. Roving the streets in trucks, they shot freely as planes dropped what witnesses described as “small bombs” and helicopters fired on protesters.
The faltering government of the Libyan strongman, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, struck back at mounting protests against his 40-year rule as security forces and militiamen backed by helicopters and warplanes besieged parts of the capital on Monday, according to witnesses and news reports from Tripoli.
Hundreds of Qaddafi supporters took over the central Green Square in the capital after truckloads of militiamen arrived and opened fire on protesters, scattering them. Residents said they now feared even emerging from their houses.
“It was an obscene amount of gunfire,” said one witness. “They were strafing these people. People were running in every direction.”
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Qaddafi’s Forces Strike With Fury as Unrest Grows - NYTimes.com