By Libya Herald Reporters.
Tripoli, 18 November 2013:
As the first day of the three-day withdrawal of Misratan forces from the capital drew . . .[restrict]to a close tonight, Tripoli residents were hoping anxiously that the deal cut yesterday, would stick.
The city was a mass of improvised roadblocks, some of them manned by members of the Supreme Security Committee and the army. The most significant army presence was at the former Women’s Military Academy on the coast at ….. which troops occupied, after the Deraa Libya Al-Wasit (Central Libya) brigade withdrew from a position they have occupied, with one brief interruption, since the fall of Tripoli.
The takeover was watched by large large numbers of people positioned on bridges or besides the highway.
Two army brigades, totally maybe 800 men were also in charge of what remains of the ten Gharghour villas from which Misratan forces fired, at the start of Friday’s Gharghour carnage. In the subsequent fighting these capacious homes of leading members of the Qaddafi regime, were extensively damaged. The area around the former Misratan base was however, today declared off limits and journalists forbidden from photographing the shattered buildings. An army officer told the Libya Herald that the situation in the area was now “stable and under control”. There was no sign of the 200 Misratan militiamen who are believed to have been in the villas on Friday.
The city woke this morning to sparse traffic on the streets, thanks to the second day of the widely-observed general strike. This made the job of numerous street-cleaning gangs all the easier, as they swept up the remains of burnt tyres and shovelled earth and debris into the backs of trucks.
The coastal highway kept the barriers, tanks and APCs that had been in position since at least yesterday. The Tripoli defences ran out to Gharaboulli, where Misratan units were stationed. Anyone entering or leaving the city in a vehicle was subject to an intensive search for weapons. Inside the capital, the checks appeared less rigorous but were still common. At least one gun-totting guard was also concerned about traffic violations. A car with Libya Herald reporters, who had just been checked, tried to avoid the concrete barriers blocking the road, by driving off down a one-way street. The guard angrily called the driver back, pointed out that such a manoeuvre was illegal and insisted that the vehicle back up and find another route.
Army soldiers had been advising people to stay indoors. Last night at a hastily-called press conference at Mitiga, attended by Tripoli Local Council leader Sadat Elbadri, people in the capital were urged to support the police and army in the coming days. The official in charge of fire and medicine, Rageb Al-Tajouri praised the response of medical teams to the massacre in Gharghour. He added: “ We also can not extend enough gratitude towards those who selflessly donated blood. At one point in the past two nights there were lines to give blood lasting well into the night.”
With contributions from Ashraf Abdul Wahab, Ahmed Elumami, Muhammad Elosta and Khaled Jebril