On Friday, Libyans commemorated the 12th anniversary of their 2011 revolution. In many cities, major celebrations took place, and in the capital, Tripoli, residents flooded the streets, with squares adorned with national flags and lights. A large military parade also took place in the main square, with music performances by Libyan singers and bands attracting large crowds.
Despite the ongoing political stalemate and government division, with elections unable to be held since December 2021, many Libyans expressed optimism for the future. One man celebrating on the streets of Tripoli said, “we will have a government elected by the entire Libyan people, and Libya will unite and become one state.”
Following the uprising, the country split into two rival administrations, each backed by different rogue militias and foreign governments. The UN special envoy for Libya warned at the end of last year that partition is already evident, urging influential nations to pressure Libya’s rival leaders to finalize the constitutional basis for elections.
On February 17, 2011, Libya descended into protests, similar to those in many Arab states during the Arab Spring. This popular uprising led to the overthrow of Colonel Moammar Gadhafi’s 42 years of dictatorship. However, Gadhafi’s ouster is often remembered with NATO’s involvement. In March 2011, a coalition of countries including France, Britain, and the United States launched the first strikes against Gadhafi’s forces under a United Nations resolution to protect civilians. NATO then assumed control of the air campaign over Libya on March 31.