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Mass Text Urged Tripolitanians To the Streets

BY Nick Judd | Monday, August 22 2011

The U.K.'s Channel 4 News reports that in Tripoli, subscribers of the (formerly?) state-run Libyan telecommunications service recieved an unusual text message early Monday morning:

If technology helped to co-ordinate the military effort against the regime, it also illustrated the apparent sudden reversal of fortune for the Gaddafi family in the early hours of Monday when many residents in Tripoli received an Arabic text message on their phones from the rebel leadership.

The text read: "God is Great. We congratulate the Libyan people on the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, and we urge them to go out in the streets to preserve and protect the public belongings. Long Live Free Libya."

Both Libya's mobile phone networks had previously been controlled by the dictator's eldest son Muhammad, now reported to be in the hands of rebel troops, and the regime was sending its own texts exhorting people in Tripoli to fight the rebels as late as Saturday.

Muhammad is understood to have surrendered to the rebels moments after giving a telephone interview to al-Jazeera television in which he said his house had been surrounded by guerrillas.

People in Tripoli are using their newly restored Internet and mobile access to share locations where they say snipers or other military assets of Libyan autocrat Muammar Gaddafi are holed up in the city.