DEARBORN — “Down, Down Ali Saleh.” “Freedom, Liberty, Justice for Libya.” “The people want to bring down the regime.”
Hundreds of people of all ages attended Sunday's rally at City Hall. PHOTOS: Nafeh AbuNab
“We are here to support the masses,” said organizer Abdul Galil, who organized the strong Yemeni presence. “(Saleh) crushed on a peaceful protest in the south.. Many died. There is brutality, violence and he has ruled over them with an iron fist for over 30 years. It is time for this oppression to end.”
In recent weeks, Yemeni citizens have begun to protest the corruption in the government, and request that President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down.
In one protest in Yemen, which became know as the “Friday of Rage,” protesters who marched and chanted anti-government slogans were met by riot police and supporters of Saleh. Police fired tear gas at the protesters and fired bullets into the air. Several of the protesters were hurt enough to be taken away by ambulances.
“We came to tell (others) about the problems in (our) country and to support (their) dreams. The American dream. A dream of freedom and liberty,” said protestor Mohamed Musayed
Osama AlAradi, another organizer, is from Bahrain and was deeply grateful for the large presence at the protest.
“We are able to show what the Bahraini people were asking for in a peaceful protest, and how they were brutally and aggressive ly treated by the government,” Al-Alradi said.
“The Bahraini people are asking for their basic rights,” he said. “The peace protester were facing brutality. They were killing them. Women, kids, no one was excused. Using shooting rifles and shooting people with guns that are used for hunting animals.”
One protester, Miriam, carried a sign of the flag of Bahrain, but it was covered with the image of a child hurt in the protest.
“They protest in peace, but are being shot at,” she said. “I am not from Bahrain, but we are all here because we care.”
Although the rally was in support of Yemen, Libya and Bahrain, supporters came from a variety of national backgrounds.
Zahra Al-Jibary, from Iraq, came with her entire family of seven, including two small children, to support the protest.
“We are here to support them, because they are our brothers and sisters,” said Al-Jibary. Al-Jibary was one of many who came to know of the event via social media, word of mouth, or even announcements that were made after prayer sessions on Friday. Facebook helped to draw protesters from not just the countries that are currently in the spotlight, but from Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine. Supporters ranged in age from small children chanting at their parents' side, to older people carrying signs.
“We here for the same cause,” said Al-Alradi in response to the protesters from various backgrounds. “We share the same principles. This problem is uniform in aspect in all these countries.”