The unrest in the Middle East continues as Libyans face foreign military intervention and the violence in Bahrain and Yemen erupts.
The Saturday that just passed brought out demonstrators to Dundas Square in downtown Toronto that showed their support for the Arab nations fighting for freedom.
Hundreds of people chanted slogans like “the world must know, Gadaffi has to go” and “down, down Gadaffi”. This peaceful rally occurred just an hour or so after Western military began invading Libya. Many demonstrators had mixed feelings about the invasion, Mahmaud Elaradi who has family in Tripoli expressed that the foreign intervention may be a good thing but it is a little too late, “The international community knows who Gadaffi is and what he is capable of. He is a criminal and a terrorist. He has been killing innocent people for over 40 years.”
In the middle of interviewing Elaradi a friend approached him and shared that a relative had just been killed in Tripoli.
Elaradi went on to say that he feels helpless for his country but definitely thinks it is a wake up call for the Arab nation, “We are saying no more to dictators, we are saying yes to democracy, to freedom, to justice. Those dictators have been there for too long, it is time for a change.” Elaradi’s frustrations rippled through the crowds of people chanting for freedom.
Mariam Yousif helped plan the pro-democracy rally with the Arab Solidarity Campaign – which supports the growing movements for freedom throughout the Arab world. Yousif, who was at the rally with her two young daughters, said that the protestors are pleading for freedom and for the country’s Sunni monarchy to step down, “the people of Bahrain have been oppressed for decades and now they are finally speaking out.” Yousif also made it clear that the Saudi troops need to leave Bahrain and the massacre of innocent civilians needs to come to an end.
Regardless of the mixed reactions to the foreign military intervention in Libya, the one thing that is clear and agreed on amongst the large crowd is: the people of Yemen, Bahrain and Libya having been waiting far too long for democracy.
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