Hours earlier, Libyan state television announced that the government would distribute $400 to each family in a bid to head off fresh demonstrations called for by regime opponents after Friday’s midday prayers.

It was the first time the regime–which also pledged pay hikes for state employees of up to 150 percent– has attempted to offer incentives to Libyans to remain loyal.

Gunfire was reported shortly after prayers finished, suggesting that some protesters were attempting to take to the streets, said a caller from Tripoli who requested anonymity because he feared for his life.