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Britons: 'We saw a tank at Gaddafi's palace'

As the crisis in Libya goes on, British people affected by the trouble have been arriving back in the UK. Flights landed at Heathrow and Gatwick airports in London yesterday.

Some of those onboard had been working for oil companies such as BP and Shell; others had been on holiday.

The Foreign Office is advising against all but essential travel to Libya, and British nationals who do not need to remain in the country are being advised to leave by commercial means, if it is safe to do so.

These people told the BBC about their experiences.

Julian Neal

"We had been on holiday. The first 10 days were absolutely fine, then things blew up in the east, in Benghazi.

"We thought it was just going to be problems in the east, then it arrived in Tripoli last night.

"We drove past the protests in Green Square this afternoon, there was evidence of burnt out cars, there'd been a lot of shooting in the night.

"The Libyan people are obviously very worried about their future. The Libyans are lovely people, and I wish them well through these difficult times."

David Monkman

"People are talking openly against Gaddafi, which they certainly weren't 10 days ago.

"We had been down in the desert and when we came back into Tripoli, the guy running the trip was very, very concerned to get us back quickly.

"During the night we heard gunfire and sirens and stuff, this morning cars were being literally dragged away, burnt out shells. There was a smell of burning."

Raye Monkman

"We saw burnt out cars, but we also saw a lot of guys sweeping up to make it normal.

"There were a lot of soldiers about. When we left Tripoli this morning, we drove past Col Gaddafi's palace. We have been past many times before, all the gates closed, been told to never take photographs.

"This morning, when we went past the main gate was open and there was a tank there facing the entrance."

Mike Bailey

Mike Bailey is a construction worker, who has a flat near Green Square in Tripoli. When he got to work on Sunday, he said he was told it would be best to get out of the country. He arrived at Gatwick yesterday afternoon.

"We heard very heavy gunfire, small arms and heavy calibre stuff about 3.30 this morning. It lasted for round about an hour.

"We then left the apartment about 5.30 time, to go to the airport. Everywhere was dead quiet. The roads were quiet.

"We saw evidence of barricades and fires and pictures of the boss being ripped down, but no actual people on the street.

"We saw one police car, but that was up an airport road. The police were very very quiet."

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