Libya’s interim National Transitional Council (NTC) declared in a ceremony held in the eastern city of Benghazi on Sunday that the country has been ‘liberated,’ three days after the death of former strongman Muammar Qaddafi.
NTC vice chairman Abdel Hafiz Ghoga announced Libya “liberated,” at a huge rally in the eastern city of Benghazi, where the uprising against Qaddafi was launched eight months ago.
“Declaration of Liberation. Raise your head high. You are a free Libyan,” he said.
Tens of thousands of voices echoed him chanting, “You are a free Libyan.”
Earlier, an official who began the ceremony in Benghazi said, “We declare to the whole world that we have liberated our beloved cities, villages, hill-tops, mountains, deserts and skies.”
The ceremony, held by the NTC before thousands of people in Benghazi’s Kish Square, began with the singing of the national anthem and the waving of flags, both of which date back to the monarchy which Qaddafi overthrew in a bloodless coup in 1969.
Libya’s interim leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil paid tribute to the fighters, women, businessmen and tribal chief who stood by the revolution.
An Islamic state?
He also said that Islamic legal system, the Sharia, would be the fundamental form of legislation in the new country.
He said the banking system too would conform to Islamic regulations which prohibit interest.
Abduljalil added that a law banning polygamy has been annulled because it violated the Islamic Shariah.
Salah el-Ghazal, an offical who addressed the tens of thousands of people gathered for the celebrations prior to Abdel Jalil speaking, said that Libya was blessed with Mustafa Abdel Jalil as the head of the NTC.
“God has blessed us with the Mustafa Abdul Jalil, who deserves to be the man of the hour,” said Ghazal, who is a local official of the NTC.
Crowds listening to Libyan music and waving the tri-color flag cheered as Ghazal paid tributes to all those who had died, and referred to the “humiliating” death of Qaddafi.
“This is the humilitaing end that God wanted to set as example for anyone who practices the worst forms of injustice ... against their people,” Ghazal said.
Qaddafi, who vowed to fight to the end, was found hiding in a drain after fleeing Sirte, the last bastion of his loyalists. He died in chaotic circumstances after video footage showed him bloodied and struggling at the hands of his captors.
Abdel Rahman al-Kabisi, minister of martyrs and the wounded, told the gathering that the event marked “a great historic moment in beloved Libya’s history.”
“Oh pharaoh of the century, you are now in the bin of history ... in a stroke of fate ... you have been thrown into the bin of history. Go to hell,” he thundered.
“I inform you on this historic day that the NTC ... has issued decree 157 and set up a new ministry, the ministry of martyrs, wounded and the missing,” Kabisi said, adding that the ministry would be a top priority for the new regime.