Locals keep attention on Libyan plight
Published Sunday, March 6, 2011 6:19PM MST
While a Middle Eastern country verges on civil war, Edmontonians took to Churchill Square for the third straight weekend with a message of support for protesters.
Almost three weeks after unrest broke out in Libya, violence is escalating between rebels and loyalists to the country's president, Moammar Gadhafi. The ruler is clinging to control in the country's second-largest city Tripoli, while his rivals are gaining ground in the east after shooting down a government warplane.
The death toll in Libya is believed to be as high as 7,000 – 20 times the amount of casualties lost in Egypt's bid for democratic freedom.
Ottawa says it has 100 humanitarian forces on the ground inside the country's borders. HMCS Charlottetown, a warship staffed by 240 Canadian men and women, is also expected to arrive on site by Wednesday.
Edmontonians participating in Sunday's rally say it's help that's desperately needed.
"With every hour, every day, every second, more people are dying," said Zachariah Monsour. "We will come here every week regardless of how long it takes."
Local demonstrators are urging the international community to establish a no-fly zone above Libya, despite the risks involved in that kind of operation. Their point is that Gadhafi must stop using the Air Force against his own people.
Despite the continued bloodshed, those who gathered in front of City Hall argue there is no turning back now.
"If they stop there will be more casualties, more people will die," said Elhadee Alkhalas. "He will go in each house and search for the protesters - in each house, in each street, in each town."
With Files from Sean Amato