* Tripoli normal on surface but some speak of fear
* Business as usual in capital
* "Look around: do you see any problems?"
By Michael Georgy and Maria Golovnina
TRIPOLI, March 1 A widespread revolt may be
closing in on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi but there is little
sense of panic in the capital.
As they queued for bread and shopped at Tripoli's vegetable
markets on Tuesday, some residents dismissed suggestions their
leader might soon be toppled and and were keen to tell foreign
reporters that everything was fine.
"Look around: do you see any problems? Life is normal in
Tripoli," said Abdel Karim Abdel Ghani, an oil company employee
pointing to a music and DVD store.
"Everything is cool," added a friend with gelled hair and
Gaddafi has despatched forces to a western border area in
defiance of Western military and economic pressure, stirring
fears that the bloodiest in a series of Arab revolts may grow
More on Middle East unrest: [nTOPMEAST] [nLDE71O2CH]
Western leaders call for Gaddafi to go [ID:nLDE71Q0L4]
Western forces in region link.reuters.com/jen38r
Who controls Libya towns link.reuters.com/men38r
Latest graphic: r.reuters.com/fug38r
Interactive factbox link.reuters.com/puk87r
Breakingviews on Libya sanctions [nLDE71R0SO]
Behind the insistence on business as usual, there were some
signs of strain in Tripoli.
"The situation is nervous," said Salah, a 35-year-old doctor
at one bread shop where about 15 people were queuing outside.
"Of course I am worried. My family is afraid. They are
waiting at home. We have been hearing gunfire.
"But the people are together. I hope the situation calms
down. I am 35 and this is the first time I saw something like
this in Libya. It is very scary."
One man who identified himself as a military pilot said of
Gaddafi: "One hundred percent of Libyans don't like him.
Forty-one years (of his rule) is too long. Tell Britain and the
United States they must help Libya very fast."
Along one road, armed supporters of Gaddafi with green
bandanas sped by in four-wheel-drive vehicles and honked their
Some seaside shops were closed. Anxiety was spreading over
rising food prices brought on by the crisis. In an attempt to
calm nerves, state banks have been handing out cash to Libyan
"Now the main problem is high food prices. The government is
giving 500 dinars ($400) to everyone. That is enough. It's the
television channels that are creating the problems. But as you
can see everything is okay," said Khalifa, a 45-year-old airport
Men relaxed at coffee shops overlooking Tripoli's Green
Square, where Gaddafi last week vowed defiantly to triumph over
his enemies and urged his supporters to protect Libya and its
At a Tripoli market, women in veils stuffed fruits and
vegetables into plastic bags. Few people seemed too concerned
with Libya's turmoil.
"Why do the Arab and Western media say there are protests?
There are no protests," said one man who insisted he be
identified as "all Libyans".
"These events are not happening in Libya. People just film
them on their telephones and pretend they happen here. Gaddafi
will not lose. This is all talk."
Tripoli residents might believe that, or they might be too
scared to join efforts to end Gaddafi's rule. Either way, there
were no signs that Libya's uprising would engulf Tripoli, at
least for now.
(Editing by Mark Trevelyan)