Discuss as:

A rare glimpse of the Tripoli that Gadhafi doesn't want the world to see

Darko Bandic / AP

In this photo taken through a car window on a government organized tour, police and civilians argue at a gas station in Tripoli, Libya, on May 3. A sanctions-induced fuel shortage has turned gas stations in one of the world's main oil-exporting countries into battle grounds with soldiers armed with clubs and assault rifles guarding pumps and motorists waiting for days in lines stretching hundreds of yards to fill up their tanks.

Foreign correspondents reporting from government-controlled Libya in recent months have faced numerous restrictions on their work, as NBC News' Jim Maceda described in a March blog entry titled Gunsmoke and Mirrors in Tripoli. Government minders seeking to control the message arranged organized bus trips, swiftly dubbed 'Magical Mystery Tours' by Maceda and his colleagues.

In these challenging circumstances, photojournalists are forced to improvise. "I found myself sneaking little moments from the bus window", photographer Moises Saman told the New York Times in April. One such moment, when the government's claims of harmony are undermined by the reality on the streets, was captured by AP photographer Darko Bandic on May 3.

The AP released the image today to accompany a story on the Libyan economy. "The few perks that Libyans enjoyed under Gadhafi's regime are fizzling", Karin Laub writes. "Gas stations have become battle grounds, with the country's heavily-subsidized gasoline in such short supply that soldiers guard the pumps and motorists can wait for days for their turn to fill their gas tanks."

See more images of Libya on PhotoBlog.