Heavy gunfire broke out in Libya's capital Wednesday as forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi opened fire in the streets a day after the longtime leader vowed to defend his rule and called on supporters to crack down on anti-government protesters.
The fighting in Tripoli came as the opposition reportedly seized control of Misurata, with witnesses saying people were honking their horns and raising pre-Gadhafi flags from the monarchy to celebrate.
Misurata would be the first major city in the west to fall to anti-government forces, which have mainly been concentrated in the east. Faraj al-Misrati, a local doctor, said six residents had been killed and 200 injured since Jan. 18, when protesters attacked offices and buildings affiliated with Gadhafi's regime.
He said residents had formed committees to protect the city, clean the streets and treat the injured.
"The solidarity among the people here is amazing, even the disabled are helping out," he said in a telephone interview.