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Cornered in Free Libya


TRIPOLI, Nov 5, 2011 (IPS) - "We’ve walked all the way here to tell everybody that we are being treated like dogs," said 23-year old Hamuda Bubakar, among a couple of hundred black refugees protesting at Martyrs Square in Tripoli. "I’d rather be killed here. I wouldn’t be the first, or the last."

The refugees came to protest early this week from the barracks of Tarik Matar, a makeshift camp on the outskirts of Tripoli. "We’ve already spent more than two months in those horrible barracks," said Aisha who preferred not to give her full name.

A few days back, she said, "guerrilla fighters from Misrata (90 kilometres east of Tripoli) entered our place and took seven young guys with them. We still know nothing about them." Several women at the camp have been abducted and raped in recent weeks, she said.

"Raise your head, you're a free Libyan", the group chanted before a stage set up for the recent celebrations. That’s the very slogan that became almost an anthem for the rebels who rose against Gaddafi.

Tempers flared amid the group of armed soldiers guarding the central square. "I should kill you all for what you did to us in Misrata," shouted a young man in camouflage fatigues. The protesters are from Tawargha, 60 km south of Misrata, that was known as a Gaddafist base.

The armed men at the square, and angry honking soon split up the group.

"Not only do they call us Gaddafists, they hate us for the colour of our skin," said Abdulkarim Rahman. "All blacks in Libya are going through very hard times lately." MORE

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