BAGHDAD, Iraq – As U.S. tanks rolled through Baghdad, a few Iraqis waited on both sides of the Tigris River for more ordinary transportation: city buses.
Others tried to hitchhike, though destinations were unclear and most stores were closed.
Dust clouded the air, stirred by a coming windstorm, and an acrid haze blanketed the city from explosions and fires.
Iraqi television and radio -- still on the air -- broadcast patriotic songs and slogans and archival footage of President Saddam Hussein firing a gun and greeting crowds of followers. Radio played a religious sermon exhorting Iraqis to fight and denouncing the United States and Britain.
At noon, explosions, heavy- and light-arms and machine gun fire rang out from the southern section of Saddam's Old Palace compound, three miles down the river from the New Presidential Palace, taken earlier by the U.S. Army.
At the Information Ministry, also on the river's west bank, several civilians armed with rocket-propelled grenade rifles stood by and a half-dozen Iraqi soldiers manned sandbagged positions.
They flashed a reporter the "V-for-victory" sign.
Nearby, armed militiamen and civilians loitered around gardens behind a large, Soviet-style apartment block. Asphalt on the road near the Information Ministry and Al-Rashid Hotel was chewed up, evidence of the U.S. tanks and armored personnel carriers that had surrounded the buildings.
Not far from the hotel, other armed militia pedaled bicycles and soldiers darted around in muddy, four-by-four vehicles.
At the city's main bus terminal, nearly 500 people -- civilians and soldiers -- stood waiting for a ride.