Thousands form a human shield against air attacks
THOUSANDS of Libyans packed into Muammar Gaddafi's heavily fortified Tripoli compound yesterday to form a human shield against air strikes by allied forces.
Libyans from all walks of life streamed into the Bab Al-Aziziyah compound, shouting slogans and holding portraits of Gaddafi as loudspeakers boomed songs praising the leader.
"We are here. We are ready to die for our leader," said Om Abdel Qadir, an Arabic language teacher. She said her six sons had all volunteered to fight.
Libya's government was yesterday distributing arms to more than one million people and said it would complete the operation within hours.
Mahmoud el-Mansouri, a farmer, said people were angry.
"We will open up Libya's deserts and allow Africans to flood to Europe to blow themselves up as suicide bombers. We are ready to attack embassies abroad."
Mustafa Abdelgadir (27) added: "Everyone has weapons training and we are all prepared to fight."
The huge Tripoli complex, which includes military barracks, was the target of a 1986 US bombing of Libya.
Gaddafi's daughter Aisha paid an unexpected visit and stood on a vehicle as flag-waving supporters cheered her.