The Organizing Committee for the April Demonstration is glad to announce that this year's demonstration will be held in front of the Libyan mission to the United Nations (309 E. 48th Street, New York) at 10:00 AM on Saturday, April 10, 1999. The committee invites all Libyans to participate in this demonstration to protest against the flagrant abuse of human rights by Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's regime and to express our gravest concern for the severe deterioration of the economic, political and social conditions in Libya. |
During the month of April of every year, Libyans are painfully reminded of the state of subjugation they have been living under since 1976. On April 7,1976, students in major Libyan cities organized peaceful demonstrations to express their concern over the regime’s human rights abuses and the control exerted by the military over all aspects of life in Libya. Those historic demonstrations were triggered by the usurpation of basic liberties and the rapidly deteriorating educational, economic, and social conditions of the country under the control of the military junta. The students demanded that Qaddafi and the rest of the military return to their barracks and turn over the administration to a civilian government. They demanded that the Libyan people be allowed to exercise their basic freedoms and their right in free and fair elections as guaranteed by the constitution.
Qadhafi and his junta refused to consider the demands of the demonstrators, and decided to raid the universities and secondary schools in the cities of Tripoli and Benghazi in an effort to silence and eliminate the voices of freedom. The students faced Qadhafi’s instruments of terror and stood their ground with steadfastness and courage. On that faithful day, hundreds of students, male and female alike, were arrested simply because they dared to ask the military to hand over power to a civilian government to be chosen through free elections.
Many students were detained for months and later released only to be re-arrested at the direct orders of Qadhafi, who wanted them imprisoned for life, if not executed. On April 7, 1977 the first anniversary of 1976 events, several students like Omar Dabob and Muhammed Ben Sa-oud, were hanged in a public square in Benghazi. In that same week, a large number of military officers, who opposed Qadhafi’s tyrannical rule, were hanged in their barracks in many towns across Libya while their friends and comrades were forced to take part in the execution either as participants or spectators.
The cycle of terror, collective punishment, harassment and the continuous degradation of the Libyan people became the trademark of Qadhafi's regime. Year after year since 1976, Qadhafi and his accomplices have used the date of April 7 to kill, hang, jail, and chase their opponents whereever they may be. The Qadhafi regime has targeted thousands of innocent Libyans, inside as well as outside the country, abducting and killing hundreds of them. Mr. Mansour Al-Kikhia, a Libyan human rights activist, was abducted in December 10, 1993 while attending a human rights conference in Cairo, Egypt. It is now widely believed that Mr. Al-Kikhia has been executed by Qadhafi's ruthless security apparatus shorlty after his abduction.
During his reign of tyranny and incompetence, Qadhafi has reduced Libya to a wreckage. Under his despotic and unpredictable leadership Libya was transformed from a prosperous, organized society to one of the poorest and most chaotic countries in North Africa and the Middle East. Before Qadhafi, Libya was rich in natural resources and economic opportunity. Libya also enjoyed a rich culture and social harmony. Not anymore; Qadhafi and his accomplices have deliberately dismantled the entire administrative structure, public education and healthcare systems, and the cultural values of the Libyan society. Consequently, Libya is now on the verge of a complete social and economic collapse. Since Qadhafi took power in 1969, thousands of Libya's best educated, entrepreneurial, and free-spirited people have been forced into exile because Qadhafi left them with no alternative but to leave the country and seek a dignified life elsewhere.
Qadhafi’s foolish policies and his involvement in domestic (Libyan Arab Airlines flight 1103) and international(Pan Am flight 103) acts of terrorism against innocent civilians and his interference in internal affairs of other countries around the globe, have turned Libya into a rogue, pariah state. In addition to the loss of human lives, these tragedies have resulted in the economic sanctions imposed on the Libyan people since April 15, 1992.
We now ask the Secretary General of the United Nations to send a fact finding mission to Libya to examime the human rights abuses, as well as the health conditions of the Libyan people. We consider the situation to be urgent because we believe that the human rights conditions in Libya have reached a critical stage and continue to deteriorate at an alarming rate.
The Organizing Committee for the April Demonstration
March 23, 1999
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Tarek Bagdadi
903 Newton Ave. North
Mpls, Mn 55411
or: P.O. Box 18442
Mpls, Mn 55411