Libya commemorated on Saturday, February 17th, the 7th anniversary of the revolution that brought down the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.
Calls for demonstrations had been launched despite the country’s political and economic status quo.
In the capital Tripoli, and in many cities of the North African country, thousands of people gathered in public squares where the authorities organized concerts and other festivities.
Libya sank into chaos after the 2011 NATO-backed uprising, with rival militias, tribes and jihadists vying for control of the oil-rich country.
An agreement backed by the UN in 2015 to set up the unity government in Tripoli was to end the revolution. But Libya remained torn due to divisions between the National Accord Government (NGG) and a rival administration backed by Khalifa Haftar.
The GNA failed to impose its authority across the country, which faces deadly attacks, and a migration crisis seven years after the revolution.
Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, with the support of the international community, acknowledged on Saturday the shortcomings of his government in a televised speech on the occasion of the seventh anniversary and called for national reconciliation.
“Maybe a regime has collapsed, but the truth is that we have failed to get rid of a culture that has dominated the minds and behaviour of many people who are today the tip of politics and consider the homeland a booty,” he said.
The national reconciliation, according to Fayez is the key to ending the divisions in Libya and alleviating the crisis that the country is facing.
In Tripoli, the Libyans invaded the central square of the Martyrs brandishing the country’s red-green-black flag.
Scouts marched and concerts and fireworks were organized as part of the festivities that began on Friday.
“Maybe 2018 will be a good year for Libya,” said Mohsen Ali, an official, who brought his wife and two young children to Martyrs’ Square.
“We have to start the year right so that good things happen,” he added.
But while some people wanted to celebrate this event, others wrote on social networks that there was nothing to celebrate.
Every day, life is a struggle for Libyans, who are facing power cuts, liquidity shortages, a decline in the national currency, and disastrous public services.