By Tom Westcott, Jamal Adel and Noora Ibrahim.
Tripoli/Benghazi, 16 February 2014:
Celebrations marking the 3rd anniversary of the 2011 17 February Revolution . . .[restrict]started across the country last night beginning in Tripoli with an impressive massive fireworks display.
Further massive fireworks are expected over the next two days, which will include performances by live bands on a custom-built stage in Tripoli’s Martyrs’ Square.
Major concerns that this year’s celebrations would be marred by huge dissatisfaction with both the government and the General National Congress (GNC) turned out to be somewhat wide of the mark. Stalls selling flags, scarves and fireworks appeared overnight with independence bunting decorating even smaller streets.
The central street in the capital’s Fashloum district, scene of a major anti-Qaddafi movement during the revolution, was closed this evening because of the festivities. Elsewhere in Tripoli, shops and homes were renewing and replacing last year’s wind-tattered flags with versions bigger and shinier than before. Despite the political crisis, residents were in festive mood and intent on partying.
Although the start of the Revolution is officially 17 February, the day of the nationwide ‘Day of Rage’ planned across the country three years ago, the celebrations last night marked the date when people in Benghazi came out two days early and started the protests that kicked off the uprising.
In Benghazi, local council member Khalid Al-Alagy said the a three-day festive marathon organised by local groups and sports clubs honoured the people and organisations that had worked for the greater good of Benghazi both during and since the revolution. He added that the city had been supported by a local disabled charity which had provided posters and flags for the street parties.
In Sebha, where recent clashes might have been expected to put a dampener on proceedings, chief organiser Ibraheem Al-Ghanay, said that revolutionary brigades, the army and the local scout patrol would march this evening in a torch-lit procession to Sebha’s Independence Square.
A Libya Herald reporter in Misrata said the mood was calm with the main celebrations beginning on Wednesday when the people of would be taking an extra holiday.