News / USA

US Rally Highlights Calls For Freedom In the Arab World

Protesters waving the 1951 first national flag of modern Libya gather in front of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 condemning Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and calling for his ouster.
Protesters waving the 1951 first national flag of modern Libya gather in front of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 condemning Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and calling for his ouster.

More than a hundred people marched in solidarity with protesters across the Middle East and North Africa Saturday in Washington.  The crowds gathered in front of the White House calling on the United States to do more to help liberate Arab nations.  

What started as a rally in solidarity with the people of Yemen, Bahrain and Libya, quickly turned into a rally for the whole Middle East, North Africa and Sudan.

Protesters stomped and kicked pictures of Arab leaders, carried bloody pictures of wounded protesters and waved the flags of their nations. Men, women and children of all nationalities chanted for freedom and for several Arab leaders to resign.

Libyan Kadja Herif said the anti-governments protests in Libya explain how she has felt for at least 30 years under the regime of Col. Moammar Gadhafi. "I am used to this. I am always opposition," she said.

She screamed through a blow horn, leading protesters in chants, like down with Gadhafi. "I just want to let everybody know he's a bad guy.  He needs to step down today because he killed a lot of my people," she said.

Human rights organization, Amnesty International, handed out signs that read, "No more bloodshed."

Chris McGraw, the director of grassroots advocacy for Amnesty, reiterated the hope of protesters, saying he believes this is a turning point across the Arab region. "Well now is really a critical time. Folks have been pressing for rights for many, many years.  And now with some of the successes in the region, they are finally able to make a big difference," he said.

Half-way through the protest, Iranian activists set up a wall of signs in front of the White House, chanting down with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and calling for the United States to support Iran's resistance.

Sixteen year old Pasha Borjkahni was one of the many youth protesters. He believes the protests will spread to home country of Iran. "We want to show the whole world we are against Ahmadinejad . What we want is to overthrow this government," he said.

Sudanese activists also joined in the march with Libyans, Yemenis, Bahrainians and Iraqis, rallying for basic human and civil rights and justice in Sudan.

Despite all the different nationalities, protesters wanted one thing. Freedom. And many pledged to march until they get it.

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