News24

Libya marks 'forgotten' independence day

2011-12-24 22:36

Tripoli - Libya celebrated its independence from colonial rule on Saturday for the first time in four decades, marking a date in the nation's history that Muammar Gaddafi did not recognise.

Gaddafi, who was toppled then killed following a popular uprising that became a civil war, insisted that September 1, the anniversary of his 1969 coup, be honoured as the national holiday.

After his downfall, Libya's new rulers organised ceremonies to commemorate December 24 1951, when the country gained independence under former king Idris from the French and British, who had administered the territory following Italy's defeat in the Second World War.

The ruling National Transitional Council's chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil and Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib were to attend ceremonies marking Libya's 60th independence day.

On Saturday, an abundance of traders were selling Libya's new flag at Martyrs Square in Tripoli.

The black, red and green flag with a crescent and a star - the flag of the monarchy that Gaddafi ousted in 1969 - became a symbol of the rebellion against Gaddafi and has now officially replaced his regime's green flag.