Saturday, December 24, 2011

Libya independence: King Idris anniversary celebrated

For the first time in 42 years, Libya is celebrating the anniversary of its independence.
The united Libyan Kingdom was formed on 24 December 1951 under King Idris.
However, after Col Muammar Gaddafi seized power in 1969, only the date of his coup was allowed to be marked.
Celebrations are planned in Tripoli, including lunch for several thousand, served on tables which organisers say could stretch for 2km (1.2 miles) along Tripoli's seafront.
The day's central event will be a march from Martyrs Square to the country's national museum - the former Royal Palace - where there will be speeches.
The rally is set to start at 15:00 GMT and senior members of the Libyan National Transitional Council, including its chairman, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, and interim Prime Minister Abdurrahim al-Keib, will be joined by a number of international dignitaries.
Many Libyans remain unaware of the significance of 24 December due to the anniversary not being celebrated under Col Gaddafi's four-decade rule.
Libya has huge challenges ahead, says the BBC's Mark Lowen in Tripoli: building a strong national government, disarming the militias that still wield power here, and promoting reconciliation.
But for one day on Saturday, the party will take priority as Libyans savour this celebration, he says.

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