Libya "liberation" to be announced in Benghazi

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 21, 2011 10:49 AM
Libya "liberation" to be announced in Benghazi

By Barry Malone

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - The liberation of Libya will be declared Saturday in the city of Benghazi, often referred to as the cradle of the revolution that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi, and not in the capital Tripoli, interim government officials told Reuters.

The chairman of the ruling National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, will make the announcement, the officials said. "The decision has been taken," an NTC official said. "The declaration of liberation will be in Benghazi, not Tripoli."

Other NTC officials confirmed the decision to Reuters.

A declaration of liberation is supposed to signal a formal move of the interim authorities from Benghazi, the second city in the far east, to Tripoli, the capital, in the west.

The choice of either Benghazi or Tripoli as the location for the declaration has been the subject of debate and speculation since Gaddafi was killed Thursday.

Some analysts say that long-standing regional rivalries in a country only put together under Italian colonial rule in the 1930s are part of a complex of tribal, ethnic and other divisions that could hamper a return to stability.

Protests against Gaddafi's rule began in Benghazi in February and were met with brutality by Libyan security forces. That prompted a spread of unrest to other parts of the country and it rapidly evolved into civil war.

(Reporting by Barry Malone; Editing by Mark Heinrich)