Richard Engel inside Tripoli (video capture image)
Don't call them rebels but freedom fighters, or just plain Libyans they will tell you, but whatever appellation you want to give them, their vanguard has reached famous Green Square (already renamed Martyr's Square) in Tripoli this Sunday night, August 21st, 2011 to cheers and jubilation from citizens pouring into the streets, as the Potemkin village facade of a Libyan capital of well over a million people willing to defend the hated Gaddafi regime to the last man, woman, child and dog has quickly evaporated into thin air. Armed resistance to rebel forces has been light after the regime brigade defending the capital surrendered and joined the liberation army's ranks, although there are reports that some Gaddafi forces are still engaged in hostilities within the city. However nothing like the tens of thousands of armed supporters that Gaddafi spokesmen have been conjuring, and that Gaddafi himself has been invoking, repeatedly, to go forth and "exterminate the vermin" have appeared.
For the scene in Martyrs (formerly Green) Square from Al Jazeera on Sunday night, August 21, 2011:
Al Jazeera correspondent Zeina Khodr reports live from Martyrs Square, formerly Green Square, in Tripoli as residents celebrate. ALSO CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO
And for a snapshot of some of the latest scenes throughout the day in this rapidly evolving historical event, follow Richard Engel of MSNBC as he reports from Libya:
And excerpted from the Guardian UK's live feed, displaying Libyan time, early Monday morning on August 22, 2011:
1.26am: Mahmoud Nacua, Libya's recently appointed charge d'affaires in London, sets out a rough timetable for what will happen next. He tells Sky News:
We are confident that our people in Tripoli are very organised and they have planned how to keep everyone safe and everything will go smoothly as we see tonight and as we saw in the other cities which were liberated during the last six months. So we're very confident that our people will control every part of the city.- Advertisement -
The plan first of all is to have security. I think the National Transitional Council will come to Tripoli in a few days and they will start to establish a new national assembly, a new transitional government, to prepare for...the election of a permanent national assembly and it will take in the beginning about eight months, and will take in the whole about two years to start a new state, a constitutional, democratic state.
1.04am: Libyan rebels say they will rename central Libya's Green Square as Martyrs' Square, its original name, Al Jazeera reports. Jubilant opponents of Gaddafi are shooting at a poster of him.
12.56am: Rebel spokesman Mahmoud Shammam promises that Gaddafi will not be harmed and that the rebels want to see him stand trial in Libya. He tells Sky News:
We're not going to put (supporters of the regime) on trial, we're going to tell them they are Libyan, they are our brothers and sisters and we are going to ask them to join the revolution. We're going to build a state where everyone can get a good education, etc etc.
There are many rumours about (Gadaffi's) location. We're going to guarantee his safety and the safety of his family. We want to see him be tried in Libya and not in any other place in the world. We're establishing a state of law and we would like to see him in the court.
Asked about reports that looters are moving into the Rixos hotel in Tripoli, he says:
It's very hard to control the people and this emotion but we're asking them... not to take revenge. We're doing every possible thing but after 42 years of dictatorship, people have the right to carry out their emotion. But we would like to tell them to control that emotion and don't be against law and order.
12.30am: Reports suggest the African Union may be offering Gaddafi exile in Angola or Zimbabwe, Al Jazeera says.12.11am: The International Criminal Court prosecutor's spokeswoman says it has been confirmed that Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam has been detained, Reuters reports.
12.09am: The Libyan rebels reach Green Square in the centre of Tripoli, Sky News reports.