Libya protests: Report from Benghazi
Libya state television showed pro-Gaddafi demonstrators dancing in the streets of the capital with posters of the besieged leader. As they danced a song played, "We are a family, and this is our father," referring to Gaddafi.
Text messages were sent to Libyan cell phones on Friday morning from Islamic leaders issuing orders to obey Gaddafi. Another promised that the Friday sermon would be for the fallen security forces and the young people who were killed because they were "misled by destructive organizations."
In Benghazi, where the opposition has organized and taken control, a new newspaper, "Libya," was distributed for only the second time. The masthead read: "We will not give up. Victory or death."
Before Friday prayers in Benghazi, three coffins bearing the bodies of people who had died in clashes last week were carried above the crowds. Men yelled out, as women wept for the dead.
During prayers, a cleric named Salem Jaber delivered an emotional sermon calling for unity and peace. He also warned that Libyans do not want foreign military intervention. "In God's name, we've taken our step in peace," Jaber said.
Others echoed the view that foreigners should not directly intervene on the ground during Libya's uprising. But they said they would like a no-fly zone to be implemented over the east to keep Gaddafi from sending war planes to attack.
Gamiyeh al-Oreibi, 60, held a picture of her 27-year-old son Muftah, who she said was shot and killed on Sunday during demonstrations. "I want Moammar Gaddafi to die in front of me," Oreibi said, he should have the same fate as her son and hundreds of others killed here.
In the courthouse, where a management committee was set up and a city council officially began its work, detainees were held and interrogated.
Abu Mohammed -- a young security man from the Katibat Fadil Abu Omar, a security base in Benghazi trained to protect Gaddafi and his family -- covered his face where he was being held. He was a member of the security force who shot at demonstrators along with foreign and Libyan mercenaries, he said. He turned himself in when he could escape from the base.
--Leila Fadel, the Post's Cairo bureau chief, contributed this BlogPost from Benghazi, Libya, some 600 miles east of Tripoli.
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| February 25, 2011; 2:13 PM ET
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