Gaddafi Regime Guns Down Protesters

The Libyan revolt appears to have reached a dramatic turning point, as demonstrators stormed the capital of Tripoli to protest the 41-year reign of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Libyan warplanes, helicopters, and loyalist militias shot down protesters in the streets in a vicious effort to maintain the crumbling regime, drawing international condemnation. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the “unacceptable bloodshed,” while senior Libyan officials—including the justice minister—and diplomats have resigned, outraged over the attacks on civilians. Soldiers have fled their units to join the opposition, and two Libyan fighter-jets pilots, who were ordered to bomb Libya’s second-largest city, Benghazi, where the anti-government demonstrators seized control of the city from Libyan security forces, chose to defect instead. Reports that Gaddafi had fled the country proved false, as the autocrat made a bizarre one-minute appearance on state television early Tuesday. Stepping out of a car and gripping an umbrella, he said, “I am in Tripoli, and not in Venezuela.”