Libya celebrates 10 years since protests overthrew Gaddafi

On Wednesday, the Libyans marked the 10th anniversary of their uprising in 2011 which led to the overthrow and eventual killing of the longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi.

The day will come when the Libyans have looked to a newly appointed government tasked with leading the country through elections late this year.

The celebration began late on Tuesday in the capital Tripoli, where people gathered in the city’s main square in the middle of tight security. The city’s main streets and squares have been cleaned and decorated with banners and photos marking the anniversary. Festivities also varied in other cities in the south.

Hassan Wanis, head of the General Authority for Culture in Tripoli, said that celebrations and memorial events were planned in the three regions of ancient Libya: Tripolitania in the west, Cyrenaica in the east and Fezzan in the southwest.

Libya has become one of the most unpleasant conflicts left over from the “Arab Spring” a decade ago. In the years following Gaddafi’s expulsion, the North African country has descended into devastating chaos and has become a haven for Islamic militants and armed groups surviving looting and human trafficking.

The oil-rich country has been divided for several years between rival administrations: a UN-backed but weak government in Tripoli – a city largely controlled by a number of armed factions – against an Eastern-based government backed by strongman General Khalifa Hifter, head of the self-proclaimed Libyan Arab Armed Forces. Each is supported by foreign governments.

In recent years, the country has seen devastating violence. The latest began in April 2019, when Hifter, backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia, launched an offensive to capture Tripoli. His campaign collapsed after Turkey strengthened its military support for the Tripoli administration with hundreds of troops and thousands of Syrian mercenaries.

Months of UN-led talks resulted in an agreement in October that ended with hospitals and demanded that all foreign forces and mercenaries be withdrawn in three months and that the UN arms embargo be complied with, provisions that have not been complied with.

The talks also set up a Libyan political dialogue forum, which earlier this month appointed an interim government – a three-member presidential council and a prime minister – that would lead the country through elections scheduled for December 24.

That government includes Mohammad Younes Menfi, a Libyan diplomat from the east of the country who comes from the tribe of anti-colonial hero Omar al-Mukhtar, as chairman of Libya’s presidential council. Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah, a pragmatic, well-connected businessman from the western city of Misrata, was appointed prime minister.

Dbeibah is still consulting to form its cabinet, which needs confirmation from the country’s divided parliament. Menfi arrived in Tripoli on Tuesday and met with Dbeibah and other officials.

In a jubilee report, Amnesty International reiterated its demands to hold them accountable for alleged war crimes and serious human rights abuses over the past ten years.

“Unless those responsible for violations are brought to justice rather than rewarded with positions of power, violence, chaos, systematic human rights abuses and endless suffering among civilians who have characterized Libya after Gaddafi will continue unabated,” said Diana Eltahawy, the group’s deputy chief. for MENA.

In recent years, Libya has emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East. Traffickers often pack desperate families in poorly equipped rubber dinghies that stop and ground along the dangerous Mediterranean route.

Thousands drown along the way, while others end up in weak smuggling pens or cramped detention centers if caught by authorities.

(AP)