Celebrations in Tripoli to mark 11th anniversary of Libyan revolution

Celebrations in Tripoli to mark 11th anniversary of Libyan revolution
Large crowds of people descended upon Tripoli's Martyrs' Square to celebrate the 11th anniversary celebration of the 17 February movement, which toppled Muammar Gaddafi.
2 min read
19 February, 2022
Libyans in Tripoli's Martyrs' Square celebrate the country's 17 February Movement, which toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi [Getty]

Thousands of Libyans on celebrated for a second day Friday 11 years since the revolt that toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi, despite political tensions in the divided country.

The anniversary comes as the country finds itself with two rival prime ministers based in the capital Tripoli.

It also follows a failed bid in December to hold national elections, with the vote postponed indefinitely amid bitter wrangling over the legal basis of the polls.

Thousands of vehicles converged on the centre of Tripoli on Friday, creating huge traffic jams, as motorists honked their car horns in celebration, an AFP journalist reported.

Festivities were held in the capital's iconic Martyrs' Square where Gaddafi once gave a famous, desperate speech before the "February 17 revolution" swept him from power.

Concerts and fireworks were organised but Libyans had to wait hours before entering the square as security was heavy and metal detectors slowed down the process.

The celebrations had been due to take place on Thursday but most were pushed back a day due to bad weather.

Earlier this month the east-based parliament voted to appoint influential ex-interior minister Fathi Bashagha to replace the interim unity government.

Incumbent Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah, appointed as part of a United Nations-driven peace process, has insisted he will only hand over power to an elected government.

Analysts have warned that the uptick in tensions could threaten what has been a long period of relative peace, since a landmark ceasefire in October 2020 formally ended eastern military chief Khalifa Haftar's ruinous year-long bid to seize the capital.

Since Gaddafi's ouster, Libya has had no fewer than nine governments and two full-scale civil wars but has yet to hold a presidential vote.

Since the revolt, Libyans have also been grappling with huge financial hardship despite the country's vast oil wealth.