Cairo: Hundreds of protesters on Friday came out on heavily-guarded streets of Tripoli demanding the immediate ouster of Muammar Gaddafi, who faced an Interpol global alert putting restrictions on his travel. But Libyan forces countered the forces by launching fresh air attacks on the rebels.
 
Military jets struck hard on the eastern city of Ajdabiya, but caused no casualties or damage, witnesses were quoted as saying by the media.

In Tripoli, the stronghold of Gaddafi, braving the large presence of gun-totting security personnel and mercenaries, over 1,000 protesters hit the streets in large numbers after Friday prayers, demanding the end of his 41 years rule, chanting "Gaddafi is the enemy of God", witnesses said.

They were tear-gassed and fired upon by the forces loyal to Gaddafi.

Media reports said the protesters tore down posters of the Libyan leader and spray-painted walls with graffitis such as:  "Down with Gaddafi" and "Tajoura will dig your grave." Reports said security forces resorted to firing tear gas at the protesters to disperse the crowd.

For the first time since the uprising began on February 15, Interpol issued an Orange Notice against 68-year-old Gaddafi and 15 other Libyans, including members of his family and close associates.

The alert is aimed at ensuring that law enforcement agencies in each of the world police bodies in 188-member countries will be able to take all necessary measures to enforce travel ban against the Libyan leader and others.

Gaddafi must leave: Obama

In Washington, US President Barack Obama said Gaddafi has lost legitimacy and must leave office, as he authorized the use of military aircraft for humanitarian purposes in the strife-torn African nation.

"Muammar Gaddafi has lost legitimacy to lead, and he must leave," Obama said at a White House news conference.

The US President said the "violence must stop...Those who perpetrate violence against the Libyan people will be held accountable... The aspirations of the Libyan people for freedom, democracy and dignity must be met."

He said he had approved the use of US military aircraft to help move Egyptians "who have fled to the Tunisian border to get back home to Egypt."

Meanwhile, Libyan authorities blocked foreign journalists from leaving the main media otel in Tripoli to report on any protests.

A government spokesman said that correspondents were being kept in the hotel for their own protection in case of violence from "al-Qaeda elements".

(Agencies)