Approximately 70 men and women rallied at the Daley Center Plaza to increase public awareness of the situation in Libya. People gathered and chanted in the plaza and held up signs to be seen by those who walked or drove by.
President Moammar Gadhafi of Libya has been in power for the last 41 years. Now after a wide-spread revolution against authoritarian rule in the Middle East, protesters in Libya wish to remove Gadhafi from office. The peaceful protests have been met with violence with at least 200 confirmed people killed in just 6 days and hundreds more suspected to have been killed.
Monday’s rally in Chicago was a last minute gathering after President Gadhafi’s son, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, appeared on Libya state television proclaiming his father was still in charge and they will “fight until the last man, the last woman, the last bullet.”
Abdulrahman Aduib, a University of Illinois at Chicago student, said it was very important that this rally be held as soon as possible. Foreign media outlets are not allowed in Libya, said Aduib, and the only way to hear about the situation is from YouTube clips and phone calls to Libya. “Aside from that there is nothing but state media which is literally showing nothing on the conflict,” said Aduib.
Aduib continued and said that as of right now, America has already proven that they were on the right side with Tunisia and Egypt. The American government supported the people’s rally for democracy. “This is different, people are being massacred, there is a need [for America] to stand up and show that they stand for democracy,” Aduib said. “America must first condemn the actions of the Libyan government because it is a slaughter of his own people,” he added.
The signs at the rally, which were in English and Arabic, said “Enough” and “Libyan blood is more expensive than oil.” Participants held Gadhafi’s picture upside down, refusing to have his face shown right side up, while chanting together “Gadhafi, Gadhafi you will see, Libya, Libya will be free!”
During the demonstration, one participant received the heartbreaking news that his brother had been killed in Libya. The demonstrators consoled the man and offered their prayers to his family. The news only further highlighted the gravity of the situation in Libya and the urgent need for reform.