Even though they were caught off guard, people here are generally very relaxed. They're disappointed that Megrahi was convicted, because they're convinced he had nothing to do with it. In fact they're puzzled that one man was convicted while the other was allowed to go free they'd expected both men to be acquitted because of insufficient evidence, and that Lockerbie would then finally be behind them. Now there's more uncertainty about what will happen next.
But they're very easygoing about it they're not up in arms. When I arrived yesterday afternoon a few cars were on the streets, honking, with young men leaning out of the windows carrying Libyan flags and chanting anti-American and anti-British slogans. But it wasn't a big demonstration. Life appears to be going on as usual, and people are putting a lot of hope in Megrahi's appeal, hoping that he'll be freed, too.
What impact have sanctions had on the life of the city?
People here say they've had a major effect. A few years ago, sanctions became more relaxed, but before that everything was really expensive. Prices have come down, more recently, and there are plenty of goods in the stores even Italian fashions in the boutiques. But the city looks very run-down and in need of some paint.
There's hot water and electricity, and I'm looking out over the waterfront right now and it's beautifully lit. But many people have stories of personal losses suffered as a result of sanctions, and there's no doubt they've set Libya back a few years.
Do people blame Ghaddafi for the sanctions?
Not at all. I haven't heard a single criticism, and although people on the streets aren't naturally discussing politics, they don't shy away when asked questions by a journalist, as in some countries where people are afraid to speak. Ghaddafi seems to be quite admired, actually. They are more inclined to believe that America and Britain don't want to give them a chance.
Why would Ghaddafi be admired?
He leads a very simple life. He's not Saddam Hussein, living in gold palaces while his people can't find milk. Ghaddafi lives very simply, and he still proclaims some kind of socialism. So everyone here is always telling you that nobody is very rich or very poor. Despite the country's oil wealth, you don't see the same signs of wealth as you do in some of the Gulf states you don't have the same glittering, sophisticated buildings and cars. It's a very simple place. There are nice wide roads and a lot of Japanese cars on them, but there's nothing fancy about Tripoli. You can see it in the architecture and the way of life of people. There are Internet cafes and so on, but you don't see signs of obvious wealth.