Protestors to gather for Gaddafi's UN visit

Protests will greet Colonel Muammar Gaddafi as he heads to the United Nations in New York today.

Protests will greet Colonel Muammar Gaddafi as he heads to the United Nations in New York today.

The Libyan leader is due to address the general assembly in the morning session with demonstrations planned for outside the compound from relatives of the Lockerbie bombing and other terrorist atrocities.

Controversy is unlikely to be confined to Mr Gaddafi’s speech with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad due to appear in the afternoon.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that he will boycott the speech, with officials from the Knesset hoping that other countries will follow suit.

But it is the appearance of Mr Gaddafi so soon after the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi – the man convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 – that is likely to draw most attention in the US.

Of the 270 lives lost when the plane crashed after exploding over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, 189 were American.

The release of the terminally ill Megrahi on compassionate grounds by the Scottish government drew widespread condemnation in the US.

As such, the appearance of Mr Gaddafi in New York could not have come at a more sensitive time.

It has already resulted in hastily rearranged plans as to where the Libyan leader would pitch his tent – Mr Gaddafi famously shuns hotels while on foreign trips in favour of a Bedouin style camp.

Original plans to set up at a five-acre plot in New Jersey were changed amid local opposition – many of the victims’ relatives live in the state.

Later, the Libyan government asked to use Manhattan’s Central Park, but the request was denied.

Instead they opted for a site in suburban New York, reportedly owned by business tycoon Donald Trump.

No-parking signs have been put up near Mr Trump’s Seven Springs estate in Bedford – around 43 miles north of the centre of the city.

TV helicopters showed a tent on the property, but neither police nor Secret Service officials would comment on the whereabouts of the Libyan leader’s camp.

He arrived yesterday ahead of the UN meeting and anticipated associated demonstrations.

Attending today’s action will be relatives of those killed in the Lockerbie bombing. They will march on the UN compound alongside others affected by terrorist atrocities, including loved ones of those killed in the September 11 attacks in New York.

Frank Duggan, president of the Victims of Pan Am 103, said: “We are planning a massive demonstration in New York City when Gaddafi will arrive here – objecting to the presence of the Libyan leader on the US soil.

“I personally understand the motives of the US government in trying to bring Libya into the community of peaceful nations, but that does not mean that we have to roll out the red carpet for him to strut on.

“He delights in rubbing salt into our wounds, and he has already misled the UN as to his intentions.”

Others taking part on the demonstration include victims from the North's Troubles. The Gaddafi regime had sympathies with Irish republican extremists, providing arms and technology to the IRA during the 1970s.

William Frazer lost five family members including his father and two uncles as a result of IRA attacks.

Now a spokesman of Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (Fair), he travelled to New York to highlight the role he claims Mr Gaddafi played in exporting terrorism around the world.

He said: “It may be 30 years ago that he sent explosives and money to the IRA. But they exported that technology to other terrorist organisations.”

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