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Reclaiming Tripoli Street: citizens of Misrata emerge after the siege

Associated Press photographer Rodrigo Abd has been working in Libya since the beginning of May, contributing frequently to our ongoing slideshow of images of the conflict. Today he filed a series of photos taken in the city of Misrata as its citizens readjusted to life after the siege.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

A general view of Tripoli Street from the terrace of a building used by snipers loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi during fighting with rebels in downtown Misrata, Libya. May 22.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

A man walks next to traces of the battles in Tripoli Street. May 22.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

A baby carriage is seen on top of a barricade in Tripoli Street. May 22.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

A couple lift their daughter's pram as they walk next to a destroyed tank in Tripoli Street. May 25.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

An effigy is seen hanging from electric cables meters away from Tripoli Street. May 23.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Women visit a makeshift museum where ammunition is displayed in Tripoli Street. May 22.

The AP reports:

The residents of Misrata came out as families — fathers with their young daughters, mothers with their toddler sons in tow — to survey with their own eyes what had become of their city.

By word of mouth, they descended on Tripoli Street, the epicenter of the punishing fight between ragtag rebels and forces loyal to Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi who were besieging the city.

Rebels expelled Gadhafi's forces from the western city after fierce street battles, pushing the front lines in a sweeping arc around the port city and giving civilians much-needed breathing room.

People picked up baby strollers and carried them over the piles of shell casings littering the pavement, steering them around the sand berms and burnt-out tanks blocking the sidewalks.

They snapped pictures of their children in front of the shattered facades, and surveyed a curbside collection of shrapnel and ammunition Gadhafi's troops used in their failed attempt to pound the city into submission.

At heart, they were paying their respects to their brothers, their sons, their neighbors who had died defending Misrata. But they were also, quite simply, reclaiming their city.

Last year, Rodrigo Abd and his AP colleague Evan Vucci contributed a series of PhotoBlog posts for msnbc.com from COP Nolen, a U.S. Army outpost in Afghanistan. Revisit that work here.