With tears and rage in their eyes, Libyan protesters yesterday threatened to get violent outside their country’s embassy in Attard as they held photos of people they said were butchered in Libya and shouted: “This is Gaddafi!”
About 300 protesters gathered outside the embassy for the second day in a row, demanding Ambassador Saadun Suayeh’s resignation and calling for their leader, Muammar Gaddafi, to step down. They are expected to keep up the pressure today.
“Other diplomats have resigned. If you have a conscience, if you are a Libyan, you will do the same and side with your people,” they said.
They reiterated their request for the green Libyan flag flying on the embassy to be replaced by the pre-revolution black, green and red flag.
“If you don’t leave, we’re coming in. We will change the flag today,” they chanted defiantly, threatening to storm the embassy, as swarms of policemen set up barricades and kept a watchful eye.
The protesters said the ambassador had lied to them because he did not address the media and confirm the atrocities going on in Libya, as he had promised to do on Monday.
Instead, he gave comments to The Times saying he would not resign and describing Col. Gaddafi as a symbol of unity.
The protesters slammed their shoes on photos of Col. Gaddafi, burned Libyan banknotes and their leader’s effigies, tore up a flag of Italy and called on the international community to save their family and friends.
“Where is Obama? Where are the human rights organisations,” they asked, hurling insults at Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, accusing him of helping the enemy.
They called for the two Libyan pilots who defected to Malta on Monday afternoon to speak to the press and share any information they had.
At one point, a protester threw a small stone at the embassy when a janitor appeared behind an open window to close it.
The protesters were joined by a number of Maltese nationals and members of the Malta-Arab Chamber of Commerce, who gathered in solidarity with the victims and called for an end to the bloodshed.
“Enough is enough,” their placards said.
The Libyan protesters showed The Times a video clip saying it showed them ransacking the manager’s office at the World Islamic Call Society in Paola in the morning. They said they stormed the office, pulled down framed photos of Col. Gaddafi and smashed them all over the room. However, despite the video, the society and the police denied any such incident.
At the embassy protest, Seddik Souqi, the 30-year-old who met the ambassador on Monday afternoon, claimed Libyans in Malta were offered €500 each to organise a pro-Gaddafi protest. Although no one seems to have taken the money, there was one Libyan man who argued with the protesters in the morning. He was quickly calmed down and taken away.
In the afternoon, the protesters delivered a second letter to the ambassador asking him to step down but this time they were not allowed in to meet with him.
Throughout the protest, several Libyans called friends and family back home who recounted the experience in Tripoli.
They said people were afraid to leave their homes, even to pick up their dead relatives and friends from the streets because they were being shot at by mercenaries at random.
Bags of blood were being taken from hospitals and spilled on the streets to prevent injured people from being treated, according to their accounts.
Foreign soldiers had even arrived in Libya from Eastern Europe, according to some protesters, and were shooting at ambulances and taking people out of hospitals.
Reports also claimed that defecting soldiers and pilots had been found burnt to a crisp.
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