Libya celebrates 10th anniversary of revolt

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Libyans on Wednesday celebrated the tenth anniversary of the start of the revolution that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011, with the hope that the recent revival of political dialogue will finally put an end to divisions and violence.

As a sign that the security situation is still very precarious in the country, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (Manul) on Wednesday condemned an attack that killed a child and injured 29 other people the day before in Sebha, in the southern region of Fezzan, and called for an investigation.

In Tripolitania, a large region of the West, the atmosphere was festive Wednesday with speeches, concerts, revolutionary songs and fireworks.

The outgoing head of the Government of National Unity (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj kicked off the celebrations on Tuesday evening in the Place des Martyrs.

Thousands of people of all ages flying the Libyan flag gathered on Wednesday on this vast esplanade in the heart of the capital, where Gaddafi loved to give speeches.

Libya celebrates 10th anniversary of revolt

Abdel Hamid Dbeibah, the interim prime minister recently elected by Libyan representatives, enjoyed a walkabout, surrounded by his bodyguards, an AFP team found.

Libya celebrates 10th anniversary of revolt

“We don’t forget”

“There is a good atmosphere (…) people are happy and God willing, security will return to our dear country,” said Ziad Abdelhakim Arabi, 22, sunglasses and slicked back hair.

In the midst of traffic jams, drivers, windows down, broadcast popular songs of the revolution. Some who have lost loved ones in the fighting in recent years have hung their portraits on their cars.

On every street corner, vendors offered balloons in the national colors and flags: that of the independence of Libya in 1951, but also the Amazigh (Berber) flag, emblem of a part of the population.

In Zawiya, 45 kilometers from Tripoli, residents gathered in the city center, where dozens of “revolutionaries” were executed in 2011 after being surrounded by pro-Gaddafi.

Libya celebrates 10th anniversary of revolt

Many buildings still bear the impact of shells and bullets “which will remain so that we do not forget what happened here”, told AFP Mofida El-Romeih, who lost his skills there. two brothers and a cousin.

The authorities in the east, a region controlled by Marshal Khalifa Haftar, held no celebrations, not even in Benghazi, the cradle of the revolution and the country’s second city. This did not prevent dozens of people from gathering in the city center to celebrate the anniversary.

“The problems remain numerous, ten years later,” concedes one of them. “But the revolution of February 17 remains a real popular revolution which put an end to 42 years of dictatorship,” said the father.

Ten years after the beginning of the uprising and the intervention under cover of NATO, concluded in October 2011 by the death of “Guide” Gaddafi, Libya is still not stable and continues to suffer from foreign interference.

Libya celebrates 10th anniversary of revolt

“Real luck”

The GNA, installed in Tripoli in 2016 at the end of a fragile UN process, is supported by Turkey. His rival, a power embodied by Khalifa Haftar and established in Cyrenaica (east), is supported by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia.

The Libyans are themselves impoverished, deprived in particular of income from the most important reserves of black gold in Africa.

Their daily lives are punctuated by shortages of cash and gasoline, power cuts, with runaway inflation.

Since the failure of the pro-Haftar to seize Tripoli in 2020, attempts at mediation have multiplied.

A ceasefire agreement was wrested in October under the auspices of the UN and, unlike previous ones, it seems generally respected.

Interlibyan talks have resulted in recent weeks in an agreement for elections in December. A transitional executive, made up of Abdel Hamid Dbeibah and a transitional presidential council, was appointed on February 5.

The special envoy of the UN secretary general for Libya and head of Manul, Jan Kubis, began his first visit to Libya on Tuesday where he met Libyan officials.

“Ten years after the revolution, the Libyan people finally have a real chance to achieve the objectives of the revolution”, notably by building “a united and truly sovereign state,” he said on his Facebook page.