In Tripoli, Gadhafi Reasserts Control as Support Wanes
No more protests for fear of being 'picked up'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2011 1:06 PM CDT
Libyan men wait for the bodies of 26 people said to be killed during overnight air raids to arrive for burial in Tripoli, Sunday March 20, 2011.   (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

(Newser) – With much of Libya's east firmly in rebel hands, Tripoli and most of western Libya are once again under the control of Moammar Gadhafi. Libyans in the west are no longer taking to the streets, and even in their houses, they are reluctant to talk about the protests. "As soon as they say something, straightaway you get picked up," one Tripoli resident tells NPR. Another agrees that the protests are over for now—in a conversation that was cut short as a government minder entered his shop.

Even so, support for Gadhafi in Tripoli is not what it seems, Time notes. There are signs that the regime is losing its popularity, even as officials feed propaganda to journalists. State TV broadcasts scenes of pro-Gadhafi throngs, but in reality, those throngs have dissipated and the pro-Gadhafi rallies that do occur are suspected to be inauthentic—one bystander alleged that participants were being paid. But the whispers against Gadhafi aren't amounting to action because, says one resident, "We could stand up against the regime, but they would take us down like birds."