A Libyan mechanic welds a weapons shield on a pickup truck in an industrial college-turned-weapons workshop, in Misrata, Thursday, June 16, 2011. Civilian engineers, mechanics and tradesmen have become weapons makers, pumping out materiel for the front line and the hoped-for march on Tripoli.
Libyan civilians maintain and build weapons in schools across the city to send to the front lines.
Eight schools across Misrata turned into weapons' workshops, with volunteers flooding in to help. Aref Abu Zeid, who used to be a heavy equipment engineer at the Libya Steel Company and now runs the Complete Industrial Skills College, said the need to protect their homes and their city forced them into war work. "None of us here have anything to do with the military," he said.
At the beginning, rebel weapons makers were just working from intuition. Now they can copy and take ideas from old Soviet and former East Bloc weapons taken from Qadaffi soldiers.
A Libyan mechanic stands by improvised rocket launchers.
Mechanics work on improvised weapons in Misrata, Libya.
A Libyan mechanic welds a weapon shield on a pickup truck in Misrata, Libya.
Grad rockets are installed onto the back of a pickup truck - one of hundreds the rebels found stored in Qadaffi's government and military buildings. Scavenged car parts, scrap metal and captured rocket launchers made up the rest of the project.
Once fitted with a weapon, the truck will be painted black - the words "Feb 17 Revolution" spray-painted in white. The tricolor rebel flag will emblazon the side of the vehicle.
Homemade, rust-brown steel rockets lean a wall, near rockets captured from Qadaffi troops. "We had no time to learn, we had to just become creative," said Ali Ibrahim, who used to drive trucks and now builds rockets.