On Friday, Libyans celebrated the 12th anniversary of the 2011 uprising. Many cities witnessed massive celebrations, and in the capital, Tripoli, residents took to the streets to celebrate in plazas decorated with national flags and lights.
Musical performances by Libyan singers and bands drew large crowds to Tripoli’s main square, and a large military parade was also held in the square as part of the celebrations.
“I congratulate the Libyan people on the twelfth anniversary of the February 17 revolution and God willing we will grow from better to better. God willing, next year we will have a government elected by the entire Libyan people and Libya will unite and become one country,” said Rabie Omran, one of the men celebrating in the streets of Tripoli.
The anniversary of the uprising comes amid an ongoing political stalemate and government split as no elections have been held since December 2021.
The province split in the post-uprising chaos into two rival administrations, each backed by rogue militias and various foreign governments.
The United Nations special envoy to Libya warned late last year that signs of division were already emerging and called on influential countries to pressure Libya’s rival leaders to urgently end the constitutional basis for elections.
On February 17, 2011, Libya embarked on a series of protests similar to those seen in many Arab countries at the time – the Arab Spring. The people launched their popular uprising that toppled Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year dictatorship, but Gaddafi’s overthrow is often remembered for the involvement of NATO.
A coalition of France, Britain and the United States launched the first strikes against Gaddafi’s forces on March 19, 2011 under a UN resolution to protect civilians. NATO took control of the airstrikes in Libya on March 31.