Open graves in Tripoli cemetery await 'martyrs'

Open graves in Tripoli cemetery await 'martyrs'

The mourners had assembled last afternoon, in the presence of dozens of foreign journalists, at the entrance to the burial ground overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
They had been invited to cover the funerals of 26 people reported killed in overnight air strikes by the international coalition enforcing a UN resolution aimed at halting Muammar Gaddafi's attacks on civilians in suppressing a month-long uprising.

In a sea of regime supporters carrying portraits of the embattled strongman, men armed with AK-47s fired several rounds, women ululated and youths shouted "Jihad."

They stuck their faces into the television cameras of the world to insult French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his American counterpart Barack Obama, leaders of the allied forces that launched a UN-sanctioned military intervention in Libya.

"There is no God but God and Sarkozy is the enemy" and "Tell the truth not like the sold out and treacherous networks" were among the remarks regime loyalists reserved for journalists.

Gaddafi supporters crowded around the cameras screaming "Gaddafi we love you" and "Muammar is fighting Al-Qaeda" or "America, terrorism, bomb, bomb, bomb."
"They say they want to protect civilians but instead they are killing them," said Mahmud, 24, pointing at a freshly built grave.

"That's a two-month-old baby who was killed at Tajura," he said.
"There is nothing in Tripoli. Why do they bomb us? We are people who want peace. But we will fight them, men and women, until death," said Khadija, a woman in her fifties.
After more than two hours at the cemetery, journalists left in buses chartered by the authorities.

The crowd dispersed as night was falling and bodies still failed to appear.
"Maybe tomorrow," said a member of the delegation escorting the journalists without further explanation.