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Residents of the eastern city near Benghazi celebrate in the main square after driving out forces loyal to dictator Moammar Kadafi.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

A child waving a former national flag is hoisted into the air, as residents celebrate wresting control of their town from government forces.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Residents take to the streets of Derna, after liberating the town from forces loyal to dictator Moammar Kadafi, who has ruled the country since a coup in 1969.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

An Egyptian soldier stands guard at the border with Libya, where roads were jammed as thousands of Egyptian guest workers flee the escalating violence in the oil-rich country.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

A driver ties down the belongings of Egyptian workers to the top of his van as thousands flee the political turmoil in Libya.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Egyptian guest workers board a bus to take them home as hundreds of vehicles jam the road out of Libya into neighboring Egypt.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Residents wave the former Libyan flag of black, red and green as they celebrate the liberation of their port city from forces loyal to Kadafi.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Papers are strewn on the floor of the burned central government building.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Egyptian guest workers jam the border road as they flee political turmoil in Libya.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

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Foreigners flee Libya

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Foreigners flee Libya

By Bryan Chan, Los Angeles Times

Times photographer Luis Sinco and staff writer Raja Abdulrahim crossed into Libya on Wednesday to report on the clashes between the government of Moammar Kadafi  and protesters seeking to oust him.

They arrived at the Libyan border from Cairo before dawn Wednesday to find a chaotic scene of thousands of people fleeing Libya. The two journalists had to wait a few hours before Egyptian authorities approved their exit visas and allowed them to cross. In the meantime, Sinco and Abdulrahim interviewed and photographed the refugees. They sent their work back via satellite phones.

Sinco and Abdulrahim traveled to the border with the aid groups Muslims Without Borders and the Arab Medical Union, whose members did not want to cross into Libya but rather care for the refugees on the Egyptian side. The two met other journalists planning to go into Libya and decided to travel with them for safety. The Times journalists walked the 1,000 yards of no man’s land between the borders and hired a minivan to take them west toward Benghazi.

When they reached the Libyan side, they were cheerfully greeted with “Welcome to Libya” by rebels who had taken control of the area, Sinco said.

They passed several small towns as they drove west along the Mediterranean Sea. Outside the cities and towns, it was like any drive through the desert without much hint of the unrest, Sinco said.

When they arrived in the city of Derna, the group of journalists was greeted enthusiastically by locals who were celebrating in the town square, Sinco said.

“It was weird. We were like superstars — everybody wanted to be interviewed and have their picture taken,” he said.

It became difficult for Sinco to shoot photographs of the scene because he became the center of attention. He would oblige locals who would tap him on the shoulder asking for a photo with a couple clicks of the camera and return to shooting news photos. After an hour, they became accustomed to his presence and he was able to capture more natural photos.

A police officer who had defected from the government became their guide in Derna and led them to some central government buildings that had been ransacked and burned. There, Sinco said, he saw what looked like dossiers strewn on the floors of the police station.

About 4 p.m., realizing that they were running out of daylight, the group “high-tailed it” to the city of Beida because they had been told it was unsafe to travel after dark with troops and mercenaries loyal to Kadafi roaming about.

When they arrived in Beida, which was in the hands of protesters, they were greeted as guests and taken to lodgings and a dinner of roast meat, chicken and sodas such as Fanta and Coke. “They were thrilled to see foreign media,” Sinco said.

The trip from Cairo to Beida was grueling, Sinco said. “It was like driving from the Mexican border to Canada in 24 hours.”

Reached at his hotel in Beida via satellite phone, Sinco said his plan was to recharge himself and his equipment.

The next day, the journalists planned to push on to Benghazi, where there had been heavy fighting, but they would assess the security situation before leaving.

Read the full story by Abdulrahim “Libyan city no longer ruled by Kadafi, but protests continue.”


  1. February 23, 2011, 10:31 pm

    Too dark… can’t read

    By: trxtr
  2. February 25, 2011, 2:29 am

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Matea Gold, Christine. Christine said: Bilder aus Libyen bei der Los Angeles Times […]

  3. February 28, 2011, 7:18 pm

    […] pictures are coming through everyday, on sites like The Big Picture, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times, along with up-to-the-minute tweets from Libyians at the heart of the conflict. Yet, with this […]

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