Over 100 people gathered outside Parkinson Steps at Leeds University to protest against the brutal repression being meted out by the Gaddafi regime against the youth in revolt against his tyrannical regime. The majority of those there were from Libyan backgrounds or other nearby Arab nations that had also been rocked by similar revolts.
Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party
Chants of ‘Say hey, say ho, Gaddafi must go’ cried out in English alongside chants in Arabic also demanding that Gaddafi leaves but additionally calling on Libyans to join the revolution. Unlike the protests over Egypt, where placards denouncing the regime predominated, here, like in Libya, the pre-Gaddafi Libyan flag is being used to symbolise the revolution and the strivings for democracy (ironically this was the flag of a monarchy).
Baha Tashani, a college student originally from Libya, who played a significant role in the student protests last year, said that he was protesting ‘Because what Gaddafi is doing wrong and because I want to see the end of his dictatorship. Libya needs democracy, it is a rich country, but not even 1% of the people see any of that wealth”.
When asked about the UN security council decision to establish a no-fly zone over Libya, he answered “Gaddafi has to be stopped from slaughtering people, I like the idea of a no-fly zone but I am oppose to foreign troops landing in Libya. Any outside force will be seen both by Gaddafi and the revolutionaries as an enemy. Anything that is done must not endanger the lives of ordinary Libyans and we have to be careful about countries like the USA, they only interested in Libya for the oil”
This seems to reflect the sentiments of many of the revolutionaries in Libya at present, yet as a comment in a recent BBC interview (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12708727) pointed out, the systems to maintain a no-fly zone ‘are considerable and cannot all be run from near-docked ships and from Nato’s military base in southern Italy.’ Socialists argue that we need to oppose all forms of imperialist intervention into Libya, the key to overthrowing dictatorships is the mass movements of workers and youth as events in Egypt and Tunisia have demonstrated.
The Socialist Party is part of the Committee for a Workers International (CWI) which organises in 45 countries around the world. Its website carries daily updates including reports across the Middle East, including Libya, Bahrain, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and more. To read more visit www.socialistworld.net