Qaddafi Family Denies Unrest As Protesters Near the Capitol

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In cities surrounding Libya's capital today, hundreds of protesters were seen rejoicing, waving the Libyan flag, and shouting, "The people want to bring down the regime.” In Benghazi, rebel army officers are teaching civilians how to use AK-47s. And "proving how close opposition control has come to the capital," the New York Times reports:


The confidence of the demonstrators is remarkable, all the more so because it was witnessed as part of the official tour for international journalists that Col. Qaddafi’s government organized. Instead, the tour showed a nation where the uprising had reached the capital’s doorstep, underscoring a growing impression that the ring of rebel control around Tripoli was tightening.

But Saif Qaddafi, Muammar Qaddafi's son and chief adviser, told ABC News: "You're hearing rumors, false reports. Everything is calm. Everything is peaceful. There's a big gap between reality and the media reports."

Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to ban Qaddafi and his family from traveling and to freeze their assets abroad. This is a problem for Saadi Qaddafi: "I'm going to hire a lawyer," Muammar's son told ABC. "I have some hobbies. I do some hunting, I go to safari. In Libya, there is no safari, so I have got to hire a lawyer. This bothers me so much, because I spent most of my life traveling."

This afternoon, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. is also reaching out to opposition leaders. "We've been reaching out to many different Libyans who are attempting to organize in the east. We are ready and prepared to offer any type of assistance."

Clinton: U.S. will provide 'any type of assistance' to rebels in Libya [NYP]
Libya unrest continues as Khadafy's son denies revolution [NYDN]
Libyan Rebels Tighten Ring of Armed Control Near Tripoli [NYT]