Britain's best friend in North Africa, Colonel Gaddafi, is pretty fucked right now and he's intent on taking his former subjects with him. With the country under a complete media blackout all we're seeing is grainy mobile phone pictures of body parts and screaming people, so understandably members of the Libyan diaspora in the UK are freaking out. Yesterday afternoon around a thousand of them descended upon Downing Street to voice their anger at David Cameron's relationship with Gaddafi, and the British leader's decision to not stop selling him a shitload of guns.
Chants were led by that little guy in the blue; 10-year-old Abdul Malik who'd caught the train down from Manchester with his friends and family. He has family in Libya, and when I asked him if Gaddafi's days were numbered, he said: "Definitely, there's no turning back now. If I could speak to Gaddafi face to face, I'd tell him to get lost and get out of the country, or else!"
Many protesters were waving really graphic pictures of demonstrators killed in Libya. This man said the men in his photo were killed by Libyan warplanes that had turned their guns and bombs on the rebellious crowds.
Though images of small kids holding signs about murder are undoubtedly more eye-catching, unsurprisingly it was the members of the older generation who were the most emotional and angry. Guys like Mr. Shalabi from Notting Hill Gate, who called on Cameron to impose sanctions on Gaddafi's regime, freeze his assets and implement a no-fly zone to prevent any more mercenaries flooding into the country – demands that were later reiterated in a petition presented to Downing Street by Libyan community leaders. Unfortunately Dave wasn't in, engaged as he is on a tour of the Middle East selling British munitions other nutjob dictators will probably use to kill protesting civilians.
Abu here lives in Birmingham, but originally hails from Tripoli. I asked him about his childhood in the Libyan capital and he told me that instead of having cartoons to watch on TV, the early evening TV was full of public hangings and propaganda broadcasts. He spoke to his mother the night before and she told him that gangs of mercenaries were roaming the streets armed with guns, murdering people house-by-house under the promise of several thousands of dollars a day from the Gaddafi regime. The effigy Abu brought with him didn't hang around for very long.