Gaddafi loyalists hold journalists in Tripoli hotel

hidden August 24, 2011 07:51:38 IST
Gaddafi loyalists hold journalists in Tripoli hotel

Tripoli:  Foreign journalists who covered the Libyan conflict from Muammar Gaddafi's side were trapped inside their hotel for a third day today as gunmen still loyal to the regime kept them prisoner.

With electricity and water cut off and no staff, the 30 or so journalists, including an AFP reporter, were grouped on the first floor of the Hotel Rixos, wearing helmets and flak jackets and listening to the sounds of gunfire outside.

Gaddafi loyalists hold journalists in Tripoli hotel

A member of the media works on a staircase at the Rixos hotel during a power cut in Tripoli August 22, 2011. Reuters

As the capital erupted in celebratory gunshots after rebels stormed and captured Gaddafi's heavily fortified compound, their guards denied that Tripoli was falling into the hands of the insurgents. As stray bullets struck the hotel, the correspondents hung banners on the outside, reading "Television, press, don't shoot."

From time to time their captors came by to take some of the dwindling food supplies or check up on them, giving the impression that they were being held hostage. One young man armed with a Kalashnikov came up to the first floor but was persuaded not to stay. "If you want a fight, go downstairs," one correspondent told him.


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