Libyans celebrated the 60th anniversary of their country's independence from Italian colonial rule (they were declared an independent republic on Dec. 24, 1951), on Saturday. The celebrations also marked the first time the country was allowed to remember the occasion in 42 years - since the time Col. Moammar Gadhafi came to power. The former dictator banned Independence Day celebrations when he began his rule, back in 1969.
Libya's interim Prime Minister, Abdul al-Raheem al-Keib, addressed a ceremony in Tripoli, the capital city, where he announced the transitional government would rehabilitate Libyans, particularly those soldiers who fought to dislodge Gadhafi and his regime early this year, and create job opportunities for them. A number of ceremonies were organised in the capital and other cities, to mark the occasion. A march was organised in the capital, from Martyrs Square to Royal Palace, which now houses the national museum.
The transitional government has to rebuild and reintegrate the war-ravaged country, which lies largely in ruins following months of armed struggles between pro and anti-Gadhafi forces. Thousands of civilians acquired weapons during this time and the government must now peaceably disarm these people as they constitute a security threat.
The Libyan Kingdom was formed by uniting parts of the territory that were formerly ruled by an Italian colonial government, as well as regions influenced by the French.