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The 19th Ghat Festival in Libya | December 2013

In the annual event, Tuareg tribes from the region and tourists meet to celebrate Tuareg traditional culture, folklore and heritage in the ancient city of Ghat, lies in the south-west corner of Libya. 

Photos by Esam Omran Al-Fetori/Reuters

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Mohammed el-Megarif elected as Libya’s interim president
Former opposition leader lived as a fugitive overseas for many years under late dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s rule
Libya's newly formed national assembly elected former opposition leader Mohammed el-Megarif as the country's interim president on Friday, the latest move to establish a democratically based leadership after decades of rule by deposed late dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
El-Megarif won 113 votes to defeat another opposition leader and human rights lawyer, Ali Zidan, who won 85 votes from the 200-member General National Congress, an assembly created in the first nationwide election since Gaddafi was ousted and killed last year. Both men had been diplomats who defected and fought Gaddafi’s regime while living in exile since the 1980s.
"This is a historic moment and no one is a loser," said Hussein al-Ansari, who was elected to the assembly as an independent candidate.
El-Megarif, who wrote a series of books on Gaddafi’s repressive policies, lived as a wanted fugitive for years, and was the leader of the country’s oldest armed opposition movement, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya. The movement made several attempts to end Gaddafi’s 42-year rule, sometimes by plotting assassination attacks including a well-known and daring 1984 raid on Bab al-Aziziyah, the late dictator’s fortified compound in Tripoli.
The regime cracked down on the group, executing and arresting many of its members. Many fled abroad where they worked as political activists. El-Megarif’s movement organised the first Libyan opposition conference in London in 2005 and called for the overthrow of Gaddafi’s regime at a time when other groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, accepted Gaddafi.
Upon his return to Libya after last year’s armed revolution, he formed a new party, the National Front, which sees Islam as a broad guideline to the state’s affairs, but does not mention the implementation of sharia law.

El-Megarif will hold the office until a new constitution is in place sometime next year. He replaces Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, head of the outgoing transitional council, which was disbanded on Wednesday when Abdul-Jalil handed power to the new assembly.

 Pictured. A woman casts her vote at a polling station during the national assembly election in Benghazi. Photograph: Esam Omran Al-Fetori/Reuters

Mohammed el-Megarif elected as Libya’s interim president

Former opposition leader lived as a fugitive overseas for many years under late dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s rule

Libya's newly formed national assembly elected former opposition leader Mohammed el-Megarif as the country's interim president on Friday, the latest move to establish a democratically based leadership after decades of rule by deposed late dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

El-Megarif won 113 votes to defeat another opposition leader and human rights lawyer, Ali Zidan, who won 85 votes from the 200-member General National Congress, an assembly created in the first nationwide election since Gaddafi was ousted and killed last year. Both men had been diplomats who defected and fought Gaddafi’s regime while living in exile since the 1980s.

"This is a historic moment and no one is a loser," said Hussein al-Ansari, who was elected to the assembly as an independent candidate.

El-Megarif, who wrote a series of books on Gaddafi’s repressive policies, lived as a wanted fugitive for years, and was the leader of the country’s oldest armed opposition movement, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya. The movement made several attempts to end Gaddafi’s 42-year rule, sometimes by plotting assassination attacks including a well-known and daring 1984 raid on Bab al-Aziziyah, the late dictator’s fortified compound in Tripoli.

The regime cracked down on the group, executing and arresting many of its members. Many fled abroad where they worked as political activists. El-Megarif’s movement organised the first Libyan opposition conference in London in 2005 and called for the overthrow of Gaddafi’s regime at a time when other groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, accepted Gaddafi.

Upon his return to Libya after last year’s armed revolution, he formed a new party, the National Front, which sees Islam as a broad guideline to the state’s affairs, but does not mention the implementation of sharia law.

El-Megarif will hold the office until a new constitution is in place sometime next year. He replaces Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, head of the outgoing transitional council, which was disbanded on Wednesday when Abdul-Jalil handed power to the new assembly.
Pictured. A woman casts her vote at a polling station during the national assembly election in Benghazi. Photograph: Esam Omran Al-Fetori/Reuters

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In Libya, diverse coalition has edge over Islamists in elections

Libya’s National Forces Alliance appears headed for a landslide win. The coalition’s wide-ranging views and a lack of Islamist-liberal polarization are factors.
TRIPOLI, Libya — The main street in Misurata remains shot to pieces. In Tripoli’s Janzour suburb, displacement camps dot the landscape.

Yet Libya, site of the Arab world’s most violent revolution last year, staged largely peaceful national elections over the weekend, with victory appearing likely for a coalition appealing to a wide range of ideological views that is led by one of the main figures in the war that ousted longtime strongmanMoammar Kadafi.Preliminary vote counts suggest a landslide triumph for the National Forces Alliance, or NFA, led by former Transitional National Council Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, a Western-educated political scientist.The alliance, a coalition of about 60 political parties and 200 civil society groups, is seen as somewhat more progressive than its main Islamist rivals. In that regard, the Libyan vote played out differently than the one in Tunisia, where a moderate Islamist party captured a plurality in parliament, and Egypt, where voters chose the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate in a polarizing runoff against a candidate strongly identified with that nation’s deposed secular leadership."There are some key differences between Libya and its neighbors," said Shadi Hamid, research director at the Brookings Doha Center. "Egypt and Tunisia feature high levels of polarization along Islamist-liberal lines. Libya lacked such a dynamic. This helped neutralize the Islam issue, so the [Muslim Brotherhood’s] Justice and Construction Party could not distinguish itself from the competition as easily."About 1.8 million of 2.8 million registered voters, a turnout of nearly 65%, cast ballots in Libya for a temporary national assembly, a vote that United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described as “well-conducted and transparent.”In Janzour, the NFA won about 26,000 votes, compared with the 2,000 garnered by the Justice and Construction Party, or JCP, according to early results. Similar figures emerged in Zlitan, east of the capital, Tripoli.The NFA is likely to serve “as a bridge between the old and new Libya,” said Frederic Wehrey, a senior associate at the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.Besides casting a wide ideological net, the NFA may have been helped by tribal factors.

Pictured: Mahmoud Jibril leads the National Forces Alliance in Libya. The coalition is likely to serve “as a bridge between the old and new Libya,” one analyst said. (James Lawler Duggan / MCT / July 8, 2012)

In Libya, diverse coalition has edge over Islamists in elections


Libya’s National Forces Alliance appears headed for a landslide win. The coalition’s wide-ranging views and a lack of Islamist-liberal polarization are factors.

TRIPOLI, Libya — The main street in Misurata remains shot to pieces. In Tripoli’s Janzour suburb, displacement camps dot the landscape.

Yet Libya, site of the Arab world’s most violent revolution last year, staged largely peaceful national elections over the weekend, with victory appearing likely for a coalition appealing to a wide range of ideological views that is led by one of the main figures in the war that ousted longtime strongmanMoammar Kadafi.

Preliminary vote counts suggest a landslide triumph for the National Forces Alliance, or NFA, led by former Transitional National Council Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, a Western-educated political scientist.

The alliance, a coalition of about 60 political parties and 200 civil society groups, is seen as somewhat more progressive than its main Islamist rivals. In that regard, the Libyan vote played out differently than the one in Tunisia, where a moderate Islamist party captured a plurality in parliament, and Egypt, where voters chose the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate in a polarizing runoff against a candidate strongly identified with that nation’s deposed secular leadership.

"There are some key differences between Libya and its neighbors," said Shadi Hamid, research director at the Brookings Doha Center. "Egypt and Tunisia feature high levels of polarization along Islamist-liberal lines. Libya lacked such a dynamic. This helped neutralize the Islam issue, so the [Muslim Brotherhood’s] Justice and Construction Party could not distinguish itself from the competition as easily."

About 1.8 million of 2.8 million registered voters, a turnout of nearly 65%, cast ballots in Libya for a temporary national assembly, a vote that United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described as “well-conducted and transparent.”

In Janzour, the NFA won about 26,000 votes, compared with the 2,000 garnered by the Justice and Construction Party, or JCP, according to early results. Similar figures emerged in Zlitan, east of the capital, Tripoli.

The NFA is likely to serve “as a bridge between the old and new Libya,” said Frederic Wehrey, a senior associate at the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Besides casting a wide ideological net, the NFA may have been helped by tribal factors.

Pictured: Mahmoud Jibril leads the National Forces Alliance in Libya. The coalition is likely to serve “as a bridge between the old and new Libya,” one analyst said. (James Lawler Duggan / MCT / July 8, 2012)

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Campaigning for Libya’s first national election in a generation kicked off ahead of July 7 polls to choose an national assembly which will re-draw the autocratic system of rule put in place by ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi.

In a statement published on its website on Monday, Libya’s electoral commission said candidates will have 18 days to campaign, from June 18 until July 5, with 2,501 independents and 1,206 political association candidates eligible to stand.

Al Jazeera’s Omar Al Saleh met some of the main candidates in Tripoli.

(Source: aljazeera.com)

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Clashes erupt at Libya’s Tripoli airport               
Attack by Tarhouna brigade, in protest over missing commander, disrupts flights and causes panic among travellers.
Clashes have erupted at Tripoli’s international airport after Libyan government-backed forces tried to take back the facility from an armed group.A government official said on Monday that the group, called al-Awfea Brigade, from the town of Tarhouna, 80km southeast of the Libyan capital, was demanding the release of their leader who they said disappeared two days ago.
The official news agency LANA, citing witnesses, said that the motive of the brigade was to pressure the government to explain the whereabouts of their commander, Colonel Abu Ajila al-Habshi.
LANA said the armed men fired into the air, slightly wounding an airport employee and causing panic among travellers.Al Jazeera’s Omar al-Saleh, reporting from Benghazi, said the group “has heavy weapons and they are not allowing flights to land or take off. All flights have been diverted”.
A Libyan government official earlier told AFP news agency that “cars mounted with anti-aircraft guns and armed men [surrounded] the aircraft and [prevented] them from moving”, adding that some passengers were forced to leave planes.
Intermittent shooting was heard just before sunset but it was unclear whether it was a two-way exchange of fire or a bid by the newly arriving forces to force the brigade out of the airport.
A member of a Tripoli brigade said the gunfire was just a “scare tactic”.
Pictured: Libyan government forces arrive at Tripoli international airport to join in negotiations with the Al-Awfya brigade who overran the airport few hours earlier on Monday.GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images

Clashes erupt at Libya’s Tripoli airport               

Attack by Tarhouna brigade, in protest over missing commander, disrupts flights and causes panic among travellers.

Clashes have erupted at Tripoli’s international airport after Libyan government-backed forces tried to take back the facility from an armed group.

A government official said on Monday that the group, called al-Awfea Brigade, from the town of Tarhouna, 80km southeast of the Libyan capital, was demanding the release of their leader who they said disappeared two days ago.

The official news agency LANA, citing witnesses, said that the motive of the brigade was to pressure the government to explain the whereabouts of their commander, Colonel Abu Ajila al-Habshi.

LANA said the armed men fired into the air, slightly wounding an airport employee and causing panic among travellers.

Al Jazeera’s Omar al-Saleh, reporting from Benghazi, said the group “has heavy weapons and they are not allowing flights to land or take off. All flights have been diverted”.

A Libyan government official earlier told AFP news agency that “cars mounted with anti-aircraft guns and armed men [surrounded] the aircraft and [prevented] them from moving”, adding that some passengers were forced to leave planes.

Intermittent shooting was heard just before sunset but it was unclear whether it was a two-way exchange of fire or a bid by the newly arriving forces to force the brigade out of the airport.

A member of a Tripoli brigade said the gunfire was just a “scare tactic”.

Pictured: Libyan government forces arrive at Tripoli international airport to join in negotiations with the Al-Awfya brigade who overran the airport few hours earlier on Monday.GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images

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Libya bans religious political parties
Libyan authorities have banned the formation of political parties based on religious principles ahead of elections scheduled to take place in June.
Parties based on faith, tribe or ethnicity will not be eligible to take part, a government spokesman said.
The National Transitional Council said the law, passed on Tuesday, was designed to preserve “national unity”.
But analysts say it is likely to infuriate religious parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood.
"Parties are not allowed to be based on religion or ethnicity or tribe," National Transitional Council spokesman Mohammed al-Harizy told Reuters.
He did not clarify how this would affect a political party formed in March by Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists.
The party is Libya’s most organised political group and was expected to emerge as an influential player in the country where Islamists, like all dissidents, were harshly suppressed for 42 years.
The head of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Development Party said the NTC needed to make it clearer what it meant by banning religious parties.
"This kind of clause is only useful in countries where there exists many religions, not in Libya where most people are religious Muslims," Mohammed Sawan told Reuters.
He said the law needed to be reviewed, “and if it’s not changed, we would have to protest [against] it”.
Pictured: The Muslim Brotherhood held its first public meeting for decades in November

Libya bans religious political parties

Libyan authorities have banned the formation of political parties based on religious principles ahead of elections scheduled to take place in June.

Parties based on faith, tribe or ethnicity will not be eligible to take part, a government spokesman said.

The National Transitional Council said the law, passed on Tuesday, was designed to preserve “national unity”.

But analysts say it is likely to infuriate religious parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

"Parties are not allowed to be based on religion or ethnicity or tribe," National Transitional Council spokesman Mohammed al-Harizy told Reuters.

He did not clarify how this would affect a political party formed in March by Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists.

The party is Libya’s most organised political group and was expected to emerge as an influential player in the country where Islamists, like all dissidents, were harshly suppressed for 42 years.

The head of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Development Party said the NTC needed to make it clearer what it meant by banning religious parties.

"This kind of clause is only useful in countries where there exists many religions, not in Libya where most people are religious Muslims," Mohammed Sawan told Reuters.

He said the law needed to be reviewed, “and if it’s not changed, we would have to protest [against] it”.

Pictured: The Muslim Brotherhood held its first public meeting for decades in November

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Libya is a lure for migrants, where exploitation waits
Libya’s relative wealth draws many Africans seeking a better life. Often they instead find abuse, imprisonment without charge and even a kind of modern-day slavery.
TRIPOLI, Libya — Ahmed Mostafa and his friends paid thousands of dollars among them to get to Libya recently, traveling with gangs of smugglers through Western Africa. It was to be their escape from the sprawling slums of Ghana’s capital city, Accra.
Mostafa had heard rumors of arbitrary arrests and Libyan lynch mobs during the war last year in which longtime Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi was ousted and killed. But he was counting on luck: “It was not something I really thought about,” he said. “I thought I would come and secure some work. Then send some money to my family.”
Instead, he and his 10 friends wound up in a government-run prison, Twoshi Detention Center, sleeping on small foam mattresses, dozens to a room. A militia had spied them two weeks earlier walking along a dusty road in the country’s north and detained them. They remain in the prison, uncharged and without legal representation.
In Libya, illegal migration is once again picking up, conducted through two primary trafficking corridors in the east and west of the country. A stream of Africans — Somalis, Eritreans, Nigerians, Sudanese, Malians — dreaming of a new life have made the perilous trip to Libya. But as turmoil continues to reign through much of the country, many of these migrants are being rounded up and detained, in some cases, to be exploited as forced laborers.
"The going rate for a migrant is anywhere from 260 to 800 Libyan dinars," or about $210 to $645, said Jeremy Haslam, chief of the Libya mission for the International Organization for Migration. "One of the problems is that many detention facilities are not currently under state control, instead administered by local councils and even private parties. The latter may involve organized crime, running human trafficking operations — modern-day slavery."
Pictured: African immigrants lie in a makeshift detention center in Gharyan, Libya, south of the capital, Tripoli. (Mahmud Turkia, AFP/Getty Images / April 7, 2012)

Libya is a lure for migrants, where exploitation waits

Libya’s relative wealth draws many Africans seeking a better life. Often they instead find abuse, imprisonment without charge and even a kind of modern-day slavery.

TRIPOLI, Libya — Ahmed Mostafa and his friends paid thousands of dollars among them to get to Libya recently, traveling with gangs of smugglers through Western Africa. It was to be their escape from the sprawling slums of Ghana’s capital city, Accra.

Mostafa had heard rumors of arbitrary arrests and Libyan lynch mobs during the war last year in which longtime Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi was ousted and killed. But he was counting on luck: “It was not something I really thought about,” he said. “I thought I would come and secure some work. Then send some money to my family.”

Instead, he and his 10 friends wound up in a government-run prison, Twoshi Detention Center, sleeping on small foam mattresses, dozens to a room. A militia had spied them two weeks earlier walking along a dusty road in the country’s north and detained them. They remain in the prison, uncharged and without legal representation.

In Libya, illegal migration is once again picking up, conducted through two primary trafficking corridors in the east and west of the country. A stream of Africans — Somalis, Eritreans, Nigerians, Sudanese, Malians — dreaming of a new life have made the perilous trip to Libya. But as turmoil continues to reign through much of the country, many of these migrants are being rounded up and detained, in some cases, to be exploited as forced laborers.

"The going rate for a migrant is anywhere from 260 to 800 Libyan dinars," or about $210 to $645, said Jeremy Haslam, chief of the Libya mission for the International Organization for Migration. "One of the problems is that many detention facilities are not currently under state control, instead administered by local councils and even private parties. The latter may involve organized crime, running human trafficking operations — modern-day slavery."

Pictured: African immigrants lie in a makeshift detention center in Gharyan, Libya, south of the capital, Tripoli. (Mahmud Turkia, AFP/Getty Images / April 7, 2012)

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Scores killed in Libya tribal clashes
Fighting in southern town of Sabha has killed more than 70 people as African tribe says it is facing a “massacre”.
Three days of clashes between tribes in the southern Libyan town of Sabha have killed more than 70 people, a Libyan government spokesman has said.
"It is regrettable that more than 70 people have been killed and more than 150 have been wounded" since Monday in the desert town of Sabha, Nasser al-Manaa told a news conference in Tripoli on Wednesday.
Local officials said the fighting pitting the African Toubou tribe against Arab tribes in Sabha had eased and efforts to secure a truce were underway, although the Toubou claimed they were facing a “massacre.”
"There are still clashes but not as intense," in Sabha, said Abdelmajid Seif al-Nasser, a town official who quit his post on Tuesday from the ruling National Transitional Council in protest over the violence.
"The national army and a committee of elders have entered the town in a bid to secure a truce," Nasser, who represented the NTC in Sabha, told AFP news agency.
But Toubou tribesmen said Arab tribesmen from Sabha were “surrounding” them in the Tayuri and Al-Hijara neighbourhoods and shelling them since the early hours of the morning.
"Al-Hijara is surrounded from all sides. All the Arab (tribes) are against us. They are bombarding us using all sorts of rockets indiscriminately. It is a real massacre," said Karima Jaber, a Sabha airport employee.
Pictured: Toubou tribesmen said rival Arab tribesmen were “surrounding” them in Tayuri and Al-Hijara neighbourhoods [Reuters]

Scores killed in Libya tribal clashes

Fighting in southern town of Sabha has killed more than 70 people as African tribe says it is facing a “massacre”.

Three days of clashes between tribes in the southern Libyan town of Sabha have killed more than 70 people, a Libyan government spokesman has said.

"It is regrettable that more than 70 people have been killed and more than 150 have been wounded" since Monday in the desert town of Sabha, Nasser al-Manaa told a news conference in Tripoli on Wednesday.

Local officials said the fighting pitting the African Toubou tribe against Arab tribes in Sabha had eased and efforts to secure a truce were underway, although the Toubou claimed they were facing a “massacre.”

"There are still clashes but not as intense," in Sabha, said Abdelmajid Seif al-Nasser, a town official who quit his post on Tuesday from the ruling National Transitional Council in protest over the violence.

"The national army and a committee of elders have entered the town in a bid to secure a truce," Nasser, who represented the NTC in Sabha, told AFP news agency.

But Toubou tribesmen said Arab tribesmen from Sabha were “surrounding” them in the Tayuri and Al-Hijara neighbourhoods and shelling them since the early hours of the morning.

"Al-Hijara is surrounded from all sides. All the Arab (tribes) are against us. They are bombarding us using all sorts of rockets indiscriminately. It is a real massacre," said Karima Jaber, a Sabha airport employee.

Pictured: Toubou tribesmen said rival Arab tribesmen were “surrounding” them in Tayuri and Al-Hijara neighbourhoods [Reuters]

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Tribal leaders and militia commanders in oil-rich eastern Libya have declared their intention to seek semi-autonomy, raising fears that the country might disintegrate following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.

Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC), the interim central government based in the capital Tripoli, has repeatedly voiced its opposition to the creation of a partly autonomous eastern region, warning it could eventually lead to the break-up of the North African nation.

Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnston reports from Tripoli.

(Source: aljazeera.com)

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Muslim Brotherhood Creates Political Party In Libya

The Muslim Brotherhood in Libya announced on Saturday that it has formed a political party after six decades in the shadows of dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s regime.

The Islamist group declared the creation of the Justice and Development Party in the absence of laws laying out a formal process for the establishment of political parties.

The Brotherhood’s spokesman, Mohamed Gaair, said the group has representation in more than 18 cities across the country, and that more than 1,400 members attended Friday’s meeting in Tripoli to declare the formation of the political party.

They chose as party leader Mohamed Sowan, a native of the city of Misrata, which saw some of the worst fighting in the civil war that brought down Gadhafi and has since become distrustful of authority based elsewhere in the country.

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Titled Battle for Libya this image won the first prize for stories in the general news section of the 2011 World Press Photo awards. It shows rebel forces outside Ras Lanouf, Libya, March 2011
Photograph: Remi Ochlik/Bureau233/Eyevine
French photographer Remi Ochlik was killed February 22, 2012 during the attacks on Homs in Syria. Click on the photograph for more information.

Titled Battle for Libya this image won the first prize for stories in the general news section of the 2011 World Press Photo awards. It shows rebel forces outside Ras Lanouf, Libya, March 2011

Photograph: Remi Ochlik/Bureau233/Eyevine

French photographer Remi Ochlik was killed February 22, 2012 during the attacks on Homs in Syria. Click on the photograph for more information.

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Libya marks first anniversary of uprising
Crowds in Tripoli and Benghazi begin impromptu celebrations amid heightened security and doubts about new rulers.
Libyans have celebrated on the first anniversary of their uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, with the interim leader, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, pledging to act firmly against further instability.
The former fighters, who toppled Gaddafi last year with NATO backing, set up fresh checkpoints in the capital, Tripoli, on Thursday, as well as in Benghazi, the eastern birthplace of the uprising, and the western port city of Misrata.
The country’s new rulers have not organised any official celebrations at a national level as a mark of respect for the thousands of people killed in the bloody conflict, which left about 15,000 people dead, according to the United Nations.
But spontaneous celebrations began nationwide in cities and towns, led by residents of Benghazi, the city which first rose against Gaddafi and his 42-year-old regime. Protests broke out in Benghazi on February 15 after the arrest of human rights lawyer Fathi Terbil, but the first widely recognised “Day of Rage” came on February 17.
Pictured: People with with post-revolutionary Libyan flags mark the one year anniversary of the revolutionary uprising against Muammar Gaddafi. The flag which was used when Libya gained independence from Italy in 1951, was used as a symbol of resistance against Gaddafi. Esam Omran Al-Fetori/Reuters 

Libya marks first anniversary of uprising

Crowds in Tripoli and Benghazi begin impromptu celebrations amid heightened security and doubts about new rulers.

Libyans have celebrated on the first anniversary of their uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, with the interim leader, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, pledging to act firmly against further instability.

The former fighters, who toppled Gaddafi last year with NATO backing, set up fresh checkpoints in the capital, Tripoli, on Thursday, as well as in Benghazi, the eastern birthplace of the uprising, and the western port city of Misrata.

The country’s new rulers have not organised any official celebrations at a national level as a mark of respect for the thousands of people killed in the bloody conflict, which left about 15,000 people dead, according to the United Nations.

But spontaneous celebrations began nationwide in cities and towns, led by residents of Benghazi, the city which first rose against Gaddafi and his 42-year-old regime. Protests broke out in Benghazi on February 15 after the arrest of human rights lawyer Fathi Terbil, but the first widely recognised “Day of Rage” came on February 17.

Pictured: People with with post-revolutionary Libyan flags mark the one year anniversary of the revolutionary uprising against Muammar Gaddafi. The flag which was used when Libya gained independence from Italy in 1951, was used as a symbol of resistance against Gaddafi. Esam Omran Al-Fetori/Reuters 

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In the second of four videos to mark the start of the Libyan uprising a year ago, IT consultant Ziad Lahib shows us round the notorious Tripoli prison. The site of a 1996 massacre in which 1,200 prisoners were killed, it was where Ziad was taken when Gaddafi loyalists captured him.

(Source: Guardian)

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African Union holds first post-Gaddafi summit - Africa - Al Jazeera English

African Union leaders are meeting for their first summit since the death of Muammar Gaddafi, the bloc’s founder, with the selection of top officials and discussion of crises on the continent dominating the agenda.

The leaders, gathered in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, on Sunday for a two-day summit have choosen Thomas Boni Yayi, Benin’s president, as the 54-member bloc’s new chairman.

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