Italian officials refused to let 800 Libyans leave a ship that sailed into Naples Wednesday, apparently to press Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's demand for reparations for the years Italy ruled his homeland.

The Libyan ship Garnata arrived in the port of Naples at 9 a.m. with about 800 Libyan passengers lining the rails and waving banners and photographs of Gadhafi, but Italian immigration officials refused to allow them to land.By nightfall, the Libyans were still confined to the ship, despite long hours of haggling with Italian immigration officials who said they lacked visas to enter Italy.

The Libyans hoped to mark a "day of mourning" proclaimed by Gadhafi for Thursday to remember alleged victims of Italian oppression between 1911 and 1945, when Italy ruled the North African state as a colony.

The passengers said they wanted to visit the graves of some of the 4,000 Libyans who died in Italy during the colonial period.

But protest banners strung along the side of the ship made it clear one of the main objectives was to press Gadhafi's long-standing demand for millions of dollars in reparations for Italy's alleged misdeeds during the years of colonial rule.

"We have come on a peaceful march to talk with the friendly Italian people and its government about our just rights," one leaflet said.

"Our position on war reparations is already known and firm," Foreign Minister Gianni De Michelis told reporters. "We will not yield."

While the dockside drama in Naples dragged on, another group of 170 Libyans who flew into Rome Tuesday visited the graves of 132 Libyans on the island of Ustica, 60 miles north of Palermo, Sicily.

In a related development, more than 200 demonstrators staged what they called a seven-hour "peaceful siege" outside the Italian embassy in Tripoli, the Italian news agency ANSA reported .

One banner seen outside the embassy declared that the demonstrators were "authorized by Gadhafi" to seize the first person to emerge from the embassy as a hostage, but the demonstrators dispersed in the afternoon without incident.