BENGHAZI, Libya — Militias loyal to Muammar Gaddafi fired in the air Friday to disperse marches by regime opponents defying a fierce clampdown to attempt their first major protest in the Libyan capital Tripoli in days. Across rebellious cities in the east, thousands held rallies in support of the Tripoli protesters.
Protesters streamed out of a mosque in central Tripoli after prayers, chanting for Gaddafi's ouster, and they were confronted by a force of troops and militiamen near Green Square, said one witness. The militiamen fired in the air, sending some in the anti-Gaddafi crowd running, he said.
"The situation is chaotic in parts of Tripoli now," he said, adding that armed Gaddafi supporters were also speeding through some streets in vehicles. Other residents reported gunfire heard in other districts of the capital.