More than 100 demonstrators rallied in front of the circuit courthouse in Lexington on Tuesday to increase awareness of the violence being done to Libyan citizens by the regime of Moammar Gadhafi.
They chanted, marched, sang a hymn of independence and carried signs with messages such as "Libyan people are being massacred by mercenaries," "Don't let Libya become Rwanda," and "42 years is enough."
"Most of us here are exiles. We can't go back," said Mariam Addarrat, a University of Kentucky graduate student who helped organize the event. "We felt compelled to tell the stories because of the media blackout over there."
Addarrat, whose parents left Libya with her when she was 2 weeks old, said many of the demonstrators have family members who have been injured in the protests there.
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Hearing of the "escalation of brutality" that occurred Monday left many of them feeling helpless, Addarrat said.
"We just felt compelled to do something," she said.
She urged Lexingtonians to write senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, as well as Congressman Ben Chandler, urging them to ask President Barack Obama "to make an unequivocal statement denouncing what Gadhafi is doing."
Other demonstrators had the same plea.
Mag El-Maraghi, an Egyptian-American, said our government should speak out.
"Please stand up and say something to the tyranny and the dictators," he said.
Suleiman Darrat said Gadhafi was never elected by the Libyan people and therefore has no legitimacy as a leader.
Darrat spoke of the need to spread American values such as "freedom, peace, prosperity and justice" to the world.
"It is our responsibility to show our solidarity because the freedom of one nation in the world is the freedom for everybody, and the slavery of one nation in the world is the slavery of everyone," Darrat told the crowd.
Darrat, a senior lecturer of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Kentucky, fled Libya in 1979 because he was wanted for resisting Gadhafi's regime.
"President Reagan over 25 years ago called Gadhafi the 'mad dog' of Libya," Darrat said. "This fact Libyans know for 42 years. ... He is an insane person."