Libyan Rebels Struggle To Impose Order On Tripoli

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    Libyan rebels remove the green flags from poles at the Abu Salim square in Tripoli on Aug. 26 after the opposition forces announced the transfer of their leadership to the capital.
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    After an intense battle in the Abu Salim district of Tripoli, a man removes a mannequin from a clothes shop.
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    Libyan rebel fighters protect a pro-Gadhafi fighter from angry onlookers as he is brought in for medical attention to the Tripoli Central Hospital following heavy fighting Aug. 25.
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    Rebel fighters advance toward the frontline in the Abu Salim district.
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    A Libyan rebel fighter receives medical attention after being brought in with a gunshot wound to his head at the Tripoli Central Hospital.
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    A rebel soldier reacts after a fellow fighter was brought in with a wound sustained in battle with fighters loyal to longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi at Tripoli Central Hospital.
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    A Libyan family shows support for the rebel forces as they drive in a safe district in Tripoli.
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    A rebel fighter enters a bunker of Moammar Gadhafi's main compound. Libya's rebel leadership has offered a $2 million bounty on Gadhafi's head.
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    Rebels celebrate around the iconic statue of a golden fist crushing a U.S. military bomber in Tripoli on Wednesday.
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    A Libyan rebel burns a poster of Gadhafi at the Bab al-Aziziya compound.
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    Libyan rebel fighters celebrate in the newly named Martyr's Square, formerly known as Green Square, in Tripoli.
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    Rebels break into a living room at Gadhafi's compound.
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    Armed rebels take pictures in front of Gadhafi's heavily damaged compound.
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    A Libyan woman flashes the V-sign for victory as people celebrate the end of Gadhafi's 42-year rule in the eastern city of Benghazi.
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    Fireworks light the skies late into the night on Tuesday as Libyans celebrate in Benghazi.
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    Libyans celebrate in Benghazi.
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    A Libyan rebel breaks the glass of Gadhafi's main compound in Tripoli.
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    A Libyan rebel stands on a monument in Gadhafi's main compound.
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    Rebel fighters trample the head of a Gadhafi statue in his compound.
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    Rebels take position during fighting against regime forces west of Tripoli.
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    Libyan rebels celebrate after gaining positions against regime forces in Zawiya on Aug.19.
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    Rebel fighters shoot to the sky during a funeral in Benghazi.
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Packed into cars and pickup trucks, Libya's rebels honked their horns and fired into the air as they paraded through Tripoli's central square on Wednesday in a show of force and celebration.

Some fighters deliberately targeted the ancient stone walls of the old city that flank the square — apparently because Moammar Gadhafi used the ramparts as a podium while giving speeches. And everyone is now calling it Martyrs Square, rather than Green Square, which was Gadhafi's term.

Despite this display, Tripoli remains chaotic as the rebels still try to secure the city. They claim control of most of the capital, but they still face pockets of resistance in several areas, including one large neighborhood near the airport.

Driving through Green Square, Najua Omar Mohammed says her mother lives in a neighborhood still controlled by Gadhafi loyalists in the south of the city. Young men with guns are everywhere in the neighborhood, known as Abu Salim, she says.

The rebels say they are planning an assault on the area.

Rebels Face New Challenges

In the meantime, they are also facing the challenge of providing security in the parts of the city they control. What is emerging is a confusing array of armed groups who are either fighting or acting as neighborhood watch patrols.

In one area near Green Square, men drag away a makeshift barricade studded with nails to let a car pass. They are checking identification documents, making sure the neighborhood is safe.

But Tripoli resident Nasser Juwaida says there is little coordination right now, and it's not really clear who among the rebels is in charge.

Juwaida says many people are running around on the streets saying, "I'm the boss, I'm the boss." And yet, he adds, "everybody is afraid now, even though they are happy, they are so happy, nobody wants [Gadhafi]. But nobody is relaxed."

Rumors Abound

Gadhafi's whereabouts are still unknown, and there are frequent rumors that his loyalists are carrying out acts of sabotage.

At one shop, everyone is buying bottled water. Tap water has been shut off in this area, which many say is just as well. One rumor is that Gadhafi supporters have poisoned the municipal water supply.

Rabia Mohammed, 35, says she's drinking well water only. She says food is an issue as well. There's been nothing coming into Tripoli for 10 days so people are surviving on what they have in their cabinets.

A young woman who declined to give her name says despite the hardships, things are better here now than before. A missile destroyed her house during the fighting, and pro-Gadhafi militias were patrolling her street constantly, she says.

In the east of Libya, Gadhafi and his security forces lost control months ago. But in Tripoli, most residents have just begun to experience life without Gadhafi, who seized power in 1969.

Juwaida, the Tripoli resident, says this is the first time he's ever dared say what he thinks.

"I talk about the freedom because I felt it now," he says. "For 42 years, imagine, someone is spending your money and you are dying of hunger." In the past, he says, you feared that even your own brother might inform on you.

Life remains difficult, he says, but then he offers up the rallying cry of this uprising: "We are free."

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