By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 25 December:
It seemed as if all of Libya’s who’s who turned up to the celebration of the 61st . . .[restrict]anniversary of the 24th December Independence Day at the former King’s palace in Tripoli yesterday.
The guests were greeted by the Scouts brass band as they made their way into the palace along the red carpet.
The guest list was topped by GNC head Mohamed Magarief, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, Chief of Staff Mangush, NFA party head Mahmoud Jibril, Justice and Construction party head Mohamed Sawan, Tripoli Local Council head Sadat Badri, as well as business leaders and members of the diplomatic corps.
In the opening speech Mohamed Magarief said ‘’thank god our people returned their freedom, will and respect. We meet here today to celebrate our freedom which we were denied from celebrating for 42 years’’.
Looking back on Libya’s ability to gain independence he recalled that ‘’what was described as the second poorest state in the world was still able to create a state. We should honour those who achieved that’’.
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said in his speech that ‘’today with the people’s will, happiness and joy, we can celebrate how our predecessors drafted the constitution and chose the current flag. We must today in the King’s palace, which is part of our history, enjoy our freedom thanks to the 17th February Revolution. A revolution by the people and for the people and we must rebuild the Libyan state – a state of law, institutions and organisation’’.
Meanwhile, outside the palace it seemed as if most of Tripoli was either driving around the city waving flags and hooting their horns or letting off fireworks and lanterns from Martyrs’ square.
The celebrations continued well into the night. [/restrict]