February 28, 2011 / 3:12 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Security forces fire into air at Tripoli protest

(Adds quotes, details)

TRIPOLI, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Security forces fired in the air to disperse 400 people protesting against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in a district of the capital Tripoli on Monday.

The protest took place in the Tajoura district, in the east of Tripoli, where residents had previously reported clashes between Gaddafi opponents and forces loyal to him.

Protesters shouted anti-Gaddafi slogans and displayed the green, black and red flag which has been adopted as the symbol of a rebellion against his four-decade rule.

Graffiti on a wall in the square where the protesters had gathered said “Gaddafi game over,” mimicking slogans that had been used in protests which toppled the leaders of neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia.

After a few minutes, several sports utility vehicles pulled into the area where the protest was taking place.

The occupants, wearing green bandanas, the colour of Libya’s national flag, jumped out of their vehicles in a nearby street and fired into the air to disperse the protesters.

A military helicopter was flying overhead and the vehicles of more security forces were in nearby streets.

Two local residents said separately that four protesters had been killed while attending a similar rally on Sunday night.

“Gaddafi militia were shooting randomly. They arrived in four cars. Four people were killed. There was a funeral today,” said a computer engineer who gave his name only as Mohammed.

The protest was still going when a Reuters reporter left the area. The reporter was in Tripoli as part of a tour for foreign media organised by the government. (Reporting by Maria Golovnina; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Diana Abdallah and Peter Graff)

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