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Anti-Gadhafi Forces Control Eastern Libya

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

Good morning.

LOURDES GARCIA: Good morning.

MONTAGNE: What have you been seeing since you've arrived?

GARCIA: Mr. Kanfur, what do you want the world to know? This is the first time you've been able to speak to people.

ABDUL HAMID KANFUR: Moammar Gadhafi used all kinds of weapons against the civilians, against women and children, as you can see in the TV last night. He kill everyone. And this is the time of justice now.

GARCIA: A message of defiance from this part of the country. They absolutely heard Moammar Gadhafi's message last night, but they are defiant. They say theirs is the just government.

MONTAGNE: Lulu, tell us about military officers defecting to the side of the protesters. Have you talked to any of the, you know, ground troops there?

GARCIA: We've seen tanks, we've seen anti-aircraft guns on the streets. They've been taken over by the anti-government protesters to defend their areas, they say, from attack by pro-Gadhafi forces.

MONTAGNE: And Lulu, at this meeting that you were at, describe the scene for us.

GARCIA: Well, I have to tell you, we walked in, we were let(ph) into the People's Revolutionary Council building. It's a large white rotunda and it was packed full of people, and we were the first Western press they've ever seen, and they gave us a standing ovation as we came in. Everyone wanted to speak to us, everyone wanted to have their voices heard. They said they've been living under 42 years of silence and they now want the world to know what is happening in Libya. And more than anything, really the message was, we want the international community to know that we are a member of the international community, that we want to become part of the global community. We are not against America, we are not against Europe. We want to become part of the democratic sovereign nations of the world.

MONTAGNE: There has been some talk that Libya might break up and be much more chaotic than any of these other countries. It sounds like maybe there's a little sense of unity there.

GARCIA: I have to tell you, in eastern Libya, where I am now, in the town of Beida, that's exactly what we're seeing. We're seeing a nascent government forming, they say, and they want to make it very clear that they do not want to break up the country. They are patriotic Libyans who want to simply get out from under the yoke of Moammar Gadhafi.

MONTAGNE: We've been talking to NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, who is in eastern Libya this morning. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Lulu Garcia-Navarro is the host of Weekend Edition Sunday and one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. She is infamous in the IT department of NPR for losing laptops to bullets, hurricanes, and bomb blasts.
Renee Montagne, one of the best-known names in public radio, is a special correspondent and host for NPR News.