TRIPOLI - Thousands of Libyans packed into Muammar Gaddafi's heavily fortified Tripoli compound on Saturday to form a human shield against possible air strikes by allied forces.
Fireworks erupted into the night sky and people fired defiant shots into the air at the compound after allied warplanes went into action in eastern Libya to stop the Libyan leader's forces attacking the rebel-held city of Benghazi.
Libyans from all walks of life streamed into the Bab Al-Aziziyah compound, shouting slogans and holding portraits of Gaddafi. Loudspeakers boomed songs praising the leader.
"My mother and father told me that they (Western warplanes) would attack the compound so I came here to protect our leader," said one 10-year-old boy, Mahmoud.