Women Protest, Mourn in Liberated Misrata as UK Pledges Aid

Chairman of the Transitional National Council based in Benghazi, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, met Thursday in London with British Prime Minister David Cameron. Abdel Jalil said that the recent defense of the port of Misrata from deadly attacks by Qaddafi brigades was made possible by the arrival of light arms at the port, with which the Free Libya forces equipped themselves. Britain is reluctant to arm the rebels with heavier weaponry (perhaps remembering that this step was taken in Afghanistan and that it did not end well). Cameron did pledge more civilian aid, however, and reaffirmed that the Transitional National Council is the legitimate government of Libya:

In Misrata itself, Canadian and other NATO patrol ships chased away pro-Qaddafi launches that were trying to shell the harbor area. Free Libya forces fought on two fronts on Thursday, pushing west toward the capital of Tripoli from Misrata, and pushing northwest from the eastern oil town of Ajdabiya toward Brega (al-Burayqa).

Women in Misrata staged rallies celebrating the liberation of their city from Qaddafi and commemorating the over 1000 dead from indiscriminate shelling and sniping carried out by Qaddafi’s forces, according the Voice of Free Libya in Misrata (transcript for May 12, 2011 translated by the USG Open Source Center from VFL).

‘ At 0900 GMT, the Al-Murabitun (“Fighters”) program included coverage of a march by Misratah’s women in solidarity with mothers and families of “martyrs.” The radio interviewed mothers who had lost sons. It also interviewed several women who said “this tyrant has killed women and children, and men” and that Misratah would maintain its resistance and would fight “to the last drop of blood.”

A woman called Fatma urged the world’s people to “stand with Libyans and urge them not to listen to the lying state media.” She added that “this is a revolution for freedom.” One girl, speaking English, said: “To the world I say, we are not Al-Qa’ida or Muslim Brotherhood, we are just Libyan people and we want freedom, we want Al-Qadhafi to get out now and forever.”

Later, the radio carried an “appeal to members of security brigades” which included the following: “You are youths who definitely have families and tribes that care for you, so why are you committing these crimes on the orders of this oppressive tyrant? Why are you insisting on following orders and committing massacres? We don’t want to kill you. We are calling on you to reject the orders of your leaders. Do the right thing before it is too late. There is no war between you and us. Our war is against the crazy tyrant who does not know what to do anymore. Think again and stop killing innocent people. If you stop following their orders, we give you full guarantees of security and safety.”

A presenter called on Libyans in all liberated cities to continue protesting to call for their rights and to show gratitude to the countries that had shown solidarity with the Libyan people, and to condemn those countries that were just standing by and watching. ‘

TNC member Mahmoud Jibril is interviewed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer about his mission to Washington DC:

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