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Gaddafi forces fire on protesters in Tripoli; defiant leader urges thousands of supporters to take up arms

Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi held a public rally for his supporters in Tripoli, in which he warned against foreign intervention. (Feb. 25)

In the eastern city of Benghazi, one of the first to be controlled by opponents of the regime, huge crowds gathered to celebrate their victory and show solidarity with those still battling Gaddafi.

Before Friday prayers in Benghazi, three coffins bearing the bodies of people who had died in clashes this week were carried above the crowds. Men shouted and 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," he 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 Benghazi to keep Gaddafi from sending war planes to attack.

Gamiyeh al-Oreibi, 60, held a picture of his son, who he said was shot and killed Sunday. "I want Moammar Gaddafi to die in front of me," Oreibi said as he clutched a picture of his son, Muftah, 27.

Sly reported from Cairo. Correspondent Anthony Faiola in Ras Jdir, Tunisia, and staff writer Howard Schneider in Washington contributed to this report.

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