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Graffiti artists paint their opposition to Gadhafi on Libya's walls

Rodrigo Abd / AP

In this photo taken Tuesday, May 10, street vendors wait for customers in front of a graffiti depicting Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi in Benghazi, Libya. After more than 40 years under Gadhafi, Libyans in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi have taken to mocking the Libyan dictator with colorful caricatures. Before residents in the rebel-held east ripped themselves free from Gadhafi's rule, drawing such satirical pictures of the leader in public was unthinkable, and the regime would have severely punished anyone caught doing so.

In Libya, the battle between dictator Moammar Gadhafi and the rebels determined to oust him isn’t begin fought only with guns, rockets and NATO airstrikes.

Gadhafi is the subject of hateful graffiti and violent images in Benghazi, the center of rebel resistance along the Mediterranean Coast, according to The Guardian. These images contrast with the stately official portraits of the beleaguered leader still present in Tripoli, the capital, where Gadhafi remains in control.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Artist Salhen Obaidi cleans his hands after painting a mural in downtown Benghazi, Libya, Sunday, May 15. Hundreds of new paintings and graffiti decorate the city of Benghazi since the rebels took control of the city.

Caricatures painting Gadhafi as a villain and anti-regime graffiti are prevalent throughout the Benghazi city center. Images include Gadhafi pumping oil into a winged camel or the leader depicted as a clown.

Liberated citizens in Benghazi are making up for years of repression by expressing themselves with graffiti, newspapers, radio stations and rap bands. There are also giant billboards in the city with “We have a dream,” scrawled across them in English.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

In this Wednesday, May 11, picture a man walks next to a graffiti drawing depicting Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi in Benghazi, Libya. After more than 40 years under Gadhafi, Libyans in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi have taken to mocking the Libyan dictator with colorful caricatures. Before residents in the rebel-held east ripped themselves free from Gadhafi's rule, drawing such satirical pictures of the leader in public was unthinkable, and the regime would have severely punished anyone caught doing so.

But the graphic resistance isn’t limited to rebel-controlled areas. In Tripoli, rebel sympathizers have resorted to writing “no” next to pro-government graffiti or marking them with a large “x”, according to two Libyans who escaped the capital city. Anti-government graffiti doesn’t last long in Tripoli before Gadhafi’s people paint over it. 

Libyan citizens began the revolt in February before NATO joined in in March. Four months into the rebellion, anti-Gadhafi forces control eastern Libya, while Gadhafi holds much of the rest of the country.