Dozens of Journalists Trapped in Libyan Hotel

By Genevieve Long Belmaker
Epoch Times Staff
Created: August 23, 2011 Last Updated: August 23, 2011
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We wait and worry the gunmen could turn hostile at any moment.

—Dario Lopez-Mills, photographer, The Associated Press

As many as 30 journalists, most of them foreign correspondents, remained trapped in the luxury Rixos Hotel in Tripoli on Tuesday night. The hotel is situated in an area of Libya’s capital city that has not yet been captured by rebel forces and is surrounded by pro-Gadhafi gunmen.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, there are regime snipers surrounding the building. Even after the nearby Gadhafi compound fell to rebels, the Rixos was not liberated.

Reporters inside the Rixos have managed to send out some updates on their situation and the conditions in the hotel. Some were sent via Twitter, including several from a senior international correspondent for CNN, Matthew Chance.

“Everyone frightened and concerned—doesn’t feel like a 5 star hotel. Some water left but food at risk of ruin,” Chance Tweeted on Tuesday evening.

“We’d like to leave to a safer location and negotiate an exit, but we are being prevented from doing so,” Chance also Tweeted

Chance had sent out messages earlier in the day describing the situation inside the hotel. At least one sniper took what he called “pot shots” at journalists from outside; there was shooting inside the hotel, and the door to Chance’s room had been broken open.

One of Chance’s Tweets also said that former U.S. Congressman Walter Fauntroy was also trapped in the hotel.

According to an article from Dario Lopez-Mills of The Associated Press on Tuesday, dozens of journalists are trapped in the hotel by armed gunmen.

“Two satellite telephones set up on a balcony were destroyed by gunfire, so we’ve stopped transmitting our material,” wrote Lopez-Mills. “We wait and worry the gunmen could turn hostile at any moment.”

He added that the conditions inside are uncomfortable and getting worse.

“There is no power and no running water,” he wrote. “On Monday we ate bread and butter. On Tuesday, the cook made french fries. Bottled water is running low.”


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