Libyans gather on Oklahoma City street corner to protest homeland's leadership

About 75 men, women and children stood at NW 23 and Classen Avenue in Oklahoma City during rush hour Monday, demanding Col. Moammar Gadhafi step down and for the violence against citizens to cease.
BY MATT DINGER mdinger@opubco.com Modified: February 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm •  Published: February 22, 2011
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Men, women and children gathered during rush hour traffic Monday to hold signs and chant in condemnation of Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

About 75 men, women and children stood on the southeast corner of NW 23 and Classen Avenue as the sun set.

Many held signs insulting Gadhafi and demanding he step down.

The Libyan flag was flown, and at least one protester held a sign with photographs of Libyans slain in recent skirmishes with military and police.

Dozens screamed in unison, “free, free Libya,” “stop, stop the massacre” and “down, down with Gadhafi.”

Ameen Emneina, 23, said he came to the United States on a scholarship in fall 2008. His mother, father, three brothers and two sisters are in the city of Benghazi, where Emneina was raised.

Emneina last spoke to his family about 4 p.m. Sunday, he said.

His brothers and many close friends have taken to the streets and are prepared to lose their lives trying to topple Gadhafi's regime, he said.

Emneina could hear gunfire in the background during their last phone conversation, he said.

“They didn't start with rubber bullets. They started right away with machine guns,” Emneina said.

“Everyone is armed with swords, butcher knives and rocks,” he said.

There were very few firearms available to protesters, but he said he'd heard reports that citizens were using construction equipment to break down the walls outside of military compounds controlled by Gadhafi and his sons.

“At the beginning, I was worried. But now I'm proud,” he said.

“This is just the beginning. Benghazi is now free, but Tripoli is under siege. The Libyan system is like a tribal system. If they kill one of your people, it's shame on you if you don't do something,” Emneina said.



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