Foreign Journalists Holed Up in Hotel as Tripoli Falls
Reuters has new photos of the reporters in their luxury 'prison'
One of Muammar Qaddafi's last bastions of power is, curiously enough, the luxury hotel in Tripoli that has become well known for hosting foreign journalists covering the Libyan conflict. As the capital falls into rebel hands, The New York Times noted earlier today, the Rixos hotel has become a kind of "prison" for the reporters staying there. "Armed government forces have refused to let journalists leave," the paper explained. "And even if they wanted to, a raging gun battle outside would probably prevent them from getting very far."
As the rebels seize Muammar Qaddafi's compound today and extend their control over Tripoli, the journalists are cut off from the momentous developments, running low on food and water, and living without electricity and air-conditioning. The AP's Dario Lopez explains that the journalists ate "bread and butter" and french fries from the hotel's cook on Tuesday, adding that two satellite telephones on a balcony have been destroyed by gunfire, preventing the journalists from transmitting their material. Reuters has just released a series of photos by Paul Hackett (including the one above) that provide us with a window into what the situation is like right now for the journalists sitting around in their helmets and bullet proof vests.
In this shot, journalists huddle together to "watch a film," according to the Reuters caption (why they'd be watching a movie as Tripoli dramatically falls isn't entirely clear):
This photo is more of what you'd expect--the reporters busy on their phones:
Then there's what appears to be sheer boredom:
In this photo, a journalist runs from the sound of gunfire:
While another journalists gives an interview in the hallway: