Nova Scotia

Dozens rally for Libya in Halifax

Dozens of demonstrators gathered in Victoria Park in downtown Halifax on Saturday to call on the Canadian government to do more to help the people of Libya.

Dozens of demonstrators gathered in Victoria Park in downtown Halifax on Saturday  to call on the Canadian government to do more to help the people of Libya.

The protesters — most of them from Halifax's Muslim community — also demanded the resignation of Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

Libya has been veering toward a full-scale civil war between rebel forces concentrated in the east and forces loyal to Gadhafi centred on the capital city of Tripoli.

On Saturday, forces loyal to Gadhafi reportedly broke through rebel lines at an opposition-held city in fighting that killed at least 30 people, witnesses said.

Radwan Ismael, a landed immigrant, said she left Libya for Halifax after the Gadhafi regime killed her grandfather and three brothers.

Her family still lives in Tripoli. Ismael said she has mixed emotions now that the eyes of the world are on Libya.

"Because he's been doing that for 42 years but he makes it under the table and nobody knows about it," she said of Gadhafi. "But I'm happy now because everybody in the world they can see his ugly face."

Ismael called on western countries need to impose a no-fly zone on Libya to ground military aircraft being used to suppress anti-government forces.

Her family has told her in telephone calls that there are kidnappings and killings back home every single day.

"We need to put some pressure here for the West," she said. "You know they're supposed to be taking some action. We hear them saying some stuff but we didn't see any action now."

Salah Bensalim said he agrees Canada should be doing more to help Libyans.

"The Canadian government should actually start sending medical help. That's Number One," said Bensalim. "Number Two, in terms of the military action, I think the no-fly zone has to be done."

Bensalim and the others at Saturday's rally said they hope governments not only hear their call for help, but act on them.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Wednesday that Canada will provide $5 million in humanitarian aid to the people of Libya and has sent HMCS Charlottetown to waters near the strife-torn North African country.

Harper said the money would be used for food, shelter and medical assistance during Libya's humanitarian crisis.

It remains unclear how the aid will be delivered, since Gadhafi has declared accepting foreign assistance "high treason" because it "opens Libya to colonialism."

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