Chaos Grows in Libya as Strife in Tripoli Intensifies

Wednesday, February 23, 2011
By Paul Martin

By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK and SHARON OTTERMAN
NYTimes.com
February 22, 2011

Nearly 10,000 supporters of the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, gathered in Tripoli after his speech to the nation. More Photos »
By KAREEM FAHIM and DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
Published: February 22, 2011
TOBRUK, Libya — Vowing to track down and kill protesters “house by house,” Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya tightened his grip on the capital, Tripoli, on Tuesday, but the eastern half of the country was slipping beyond his control.

A bloody crackdown drove protesters from the streets of Tripoli, where residents described a state of terror. After a televised speech by Colonel Qaddafi, thousands of his supporters converged in the city’s central Green Square, wearing green bandannas and brandishing large machetes.

Many loaded into trucks headed for the outlying areas of the city, where they occupied traffic intersections and appeared to be massing for neighborhood-to-neighborhood searches.

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