San Diego Libyans hoping for Qaddafi's downfall - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego Libyans hoping for Qaddafi's downfall

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Violent clashes continue in Libya Tuesday between protestors who want Muammar Qaddafi to step down and his supporters. Libyan-Americans here in San Diego can only watch from afar and hope their families and friends are safe.

The local men we spoke to are hoping Qaddafi's 42-year reign ends soon, but the price to pay for that is human lives, and they say the violence and bloodshed is much worse than what's being reported.

The UN says pro-government forces have killed more than 250 people since protestors demanded Muammar Qaddafi step down last week, but three local men say family and friends in Libya report the death toll is much higher.

"From what I know, there is 800, but I'm sure more than 800 been killed, he's a lunatic," Akram Mansori said.

"I contacted my family this morning, he wants everybody at home. You come out, the snipers will kill you," Abdul El-Arbi said.

In an address on state TV Tuesday, Qaddafi vowed to fight to the last drop of blood.

"He doesn't have a conscience, he could do anything. He will kill people," Mansori said.

But these three San Diegans, who left Libya in the late 1970s, say people in their homeland are fed up with Qaddafi's oppression

"If you open your mouth, try to say the truth, you'll be hanged in the streets, and I've seen with my own eyes, people hanging in the street," Salem Buzeriba said.

The men believe Qaddafi doesn't have much time left.

"There is no more Qaddafi, he's done, he's gone," Mansori said.

Already, they say people in Benghazi in the east are free from government rule, though they paid a steep price.

"Benghazi liberated themselves, the people there, they paid by their own blood," El-Arbi said.

Now protesters in the capital of Tripoli are fighting to do the same.

"We feel now the liberation, the smell of freedom," El-Arbi said.

They say with freedom will hopefully come more opportunities. They say the average Libyan makes just a couple dollars a day in a country with a huge oil reserve.

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