A Libyan candidate standing in Friday’s General Election in Ireland has spoken of his fears for his family back home in the riot torn city of Benghazi.
Hussein Hamed, who claimed political asylum here in the 1990s, is standing as an independent candidate in the Dublin South constituency when Ireland goes to the polls on Friday.
But his election campaign has been overshadowed by trouble in his homeland as Libyans rebel against the reign of dictator Colonel Gaddafi.
Civil Rights groups now believe over a hundred protestors have been killed by Colonel Gaddafi’s government forces in Hamed’s hometown of Benghazi while protests have spread to the streets of the capital, Tripoli.
“I haven’t been able to contact my family in Benghazi since Saturday. It is horrendous what is happening there,” Hamed told the Irish Times.
“My brother told me it is a massacre – they are using anti-aircraft weaponry against unarmed civilians and the hospitals cannot cope with the number injured. He said the international community must do something.”
Over 200 members of the Libyan community in Ireland took part in a Dublin rally on Sunday to protest against the treatment of the protestors by the Gaddafi regime.
National Congress of Libyan Opposition member Tawfiq al-Ghazwani, exiled to Dublin after spending 10 years in prison for political activism, also spoke to the Irish Times.
He said: “After over 40 years of oppression maybe this is our chance to liberate ourselves forever from the dictatorship.
“We will only know how many have died when we try to bury them.”
Meanwhile the Department of Foreign Affairs now says it has identified 10 Irish cities in Benghazi, including six employees of the Dublin based engineering firm Mercury Engineering.
All 10 are understood to be safe but efforts are being made to move them from the troubled city once it is safe to do so.