Tripoli before Gadhafi's fall

AP News
Posted: Sep 02, 2011 8:09 AM
Tripoli before Gadhafi's fall

Before Moammar Gadhafi lost his grip on Libya's capital, foreign journalists assigned to cover his side of the war were largely confined to a luxury hotel in Tripoli, allowed to venture out on bus tours organized by bureaucrats.

At one point, a die-hard Gadhafi loyalist told journalists that the airplanes buzzing overhead were Libyan air force planes, claiming NATO airpower had been defeated.

While still under pressure to show him their allegiance, residents of Tripoli were apprehensive about the imminent fall of the only leader many of them had ever known. The NATO imposed no-fly zone left streets empty. Garbage was not collected. Fuel was scarce.

On Aug. 20, rebels launched their first attack on Tripoli in coordination with NATO. The next day, rebels took control of most of the city, and within days they stormed Gadhafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound in the capital. Gadhafi fled underground.

In the waning days for Gadhafi in Tripoli, minders tried to ensure the press saw only what his government wanted them to see. But the photographer's lens caught a sense of anxiety and disconnect during the last days of an iconic and eccentric regime.