Protest

 

"Thousands of angry people have started a violent demonstration in the northern part of the city, particularly in Tawfiq and Suuqaholaha areas," said Abdulsatar Dahir Sabrie, a resident.

  

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"People are burning tyres in the streets and they are shouting 'We do not want Ethiopians to enter town.' They are also throwing stones," he added.

  

No injuries were immediately reported.

 

Demonstrator Abdulahi Shegow Nur shouted, "We do not want Ethiopian troops to enter our city. They must stay out."

Trucks fitted with loudspeakers roamed the city, blaring patriotic music to welcome the prime minister.

Gedi drove through the international airport past Ethiopian tanks guarding the runway. Earlier, Ethiopian troops aboard tanks fired warning shots into the air after dozens of young men threw stones as the convoy travelled through the city.

 

Crowds lined the streets as the Western-backed interim government's premier drove into the capital.

 

Gedi, whose interim government had been confined to its base in the provincial town of Baidoa until less than two weeks ago, said parliament would vote to declare martial law.

 

Defiant fighters

 

A senior Somali Islamic Courts leader on Friday vowed his fighters will "never surrender to Ethiopians and the government" and warned of guerrilla ambushes on the allied forces.

  

"You think that Islamic courts have failed and the Ethiopian invaders have won in Somalia? I tell you within days everything will be changed," commander Sheikh Mohamed Ibrahim Bilal told AFP, a day after the fighters left the capital Mogadishu.

  

"We will never surrender to Ethiopians and the government of [Somali President] Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed," he told AFP from Kismayo, the last Islamic fighters' stronghold, a port town about 500km south of Mogadishu.

 

In the face of Ethiopian fire, most of the hardline clerics, including the movement's leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, fled Mogadishu for  Kismayo.

  

"I assure you that the Islamic forces are everywhere in the country and you will see the forces operating within days. What we will do is hit and run. We will ambush their convoys everywhere in Somalia," he added.

  

Meles Zenawi, the Ethiopian prime minister, whose military is supporting the Somali government, has vowed to pursue the Islamic Courts fighters, accused of ties with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda, until he kicks them out of the country.