Chicagoans Add Voices To Libyan Protests
CHICAGO (CBS) –>/strong> Libyan forces have reportedly killed as many as 200 demonstrators who want to end the regime of Moammar Gaddafi.
As CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, Chicagoans are now adding their voices to the call for an end to the violence.
By some accounts, Chicago’s Libyan community barely numbers in the thousands. Those here are touched by the bravery their friends and family are showing in their homeland as they take to the streets.
They are also frightened by the increasing reports of apparent government violence against the the protesters.
In a pounding Chicago rain, they numbered barely 100, most with roots in Libya.
“It’s been forty plus years, enough is enough!” said Sarah Burshan of Naperville.
Still, they wanted their calls for the end of the Gaddafi rein and a stop to the reported killing of peaceful protesters in Libya to be heard.
“My main reason to be here is I want the media to help us, said Amal Burshan of Naperville. “He is killing more people every day and he is getting away with it.”
Foreign journalists have been banned from Libya, but postings on Youtube appear to tell the story. The eastern city of Benghazi is in a state of chaos with government buildings ransacked. Security forces are said to have killed dozens as they fought to crush an uprising against leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Since the protests first surfaced Thursday phone and intenet connections have been cut off. The U.S is condemning the violence.
“In Libya as throughout the region peaceful protests need to be respected. They need to be able to exercise their universal rights that people around the world share and those rights include freedom of expression,” said Dr. Susan Rice, U.S . Ambassador to the U.N.
Amal Burshan hasn’t been able to sleep since the protests were first reported on Thursday. She has called Naperville home for 27 years, but many of her family members live near the violence in Benghazi. She has been unable to reach them since the protests started on Thursday.
“Libyans are just asking for basic daily necessities of life, hospitals health care schools,” she says.
So a world away Burshan and others speakout, to make sure the rest of the world is watching.
“This is just to let the Libyans know we are standing with them and to go out and tell Gaddafi enough,” says Burshan’s daughter Sarah.
Commandos and hired foreign mercenaries are said to be responsible for the attacks, armed with assault rifles and other heavy weapons. The latest reports indicate they fired at thousands of mourners today attending a funeral for antigovernment protesters.