By Maha Ellawati and Ahmed Elumami.
Benghazi/Tripoli, 19 March 2014:
The Second Battle of Benghazi fought during the 2011 revolution was marked in . . .[restrict]the city today with a public holiday.
Benghazi Local Council announced that all banks, universities and schools would be closed today to honour heroes and martyrs who fought for freedom on this day three years ago.
Early in the morning of 19 March 2011, forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi stormed the city with tanks, after approaching the city from the coastal road. During the ensuing fighting, at least 100 people lost their lives.
“The tanks were huge, I still remember the sight of them rolling into town,” one resident recalled. “There was a call made on a local radio station for any men who had weapons to go immediately to the Western Gate of the city.” He added that it called on men to defend their mothers, their sisters and their beloved city of Benghazi.
“I still remember the strong sound of the old man’s voice. It was the sound of war,” he said. “Many people died, including members of the Air Force.”
Another local resident described how an elderly woman refused to leave the city when instructed to, for her safety, by rebel fighters. “She told them: ‘you are my sons, we gave birth to you in Benghazi and, mothers and sons, we will stand together and die together here in our city.’” [/restrict]