Heavy gunfire broke out in Tripoli as forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi tightened their grip on the capital.
But anti-government protesters claimed control of many cities elsewhere and top government officials and diplomats turned against the long-time leader.
While cities in the eastern half of the country celebrated, raising the flags of the old monarchy, the mood in Tripoli was bleak. Residents were afraid to leave their houses, saying pro-Gaddafi forces were opening fire randomly in the streets.
International outrage mounted a day after Col Gaddafi vowed to defend his rule and called on supporters to crack down on anti-government protesters. Col Gaddafi's retaliation has already been the harshest in the Arab world to the wave of anti-government protests sweeping the Middle East. More...