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A year later, Libya still feels insecure

world Updated: Feb 18, 2012 01:08 IST

Reuters
Highlight Story

Libyans took to the streets on Friday to celebrate the first anniversary of the uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, but some rued the insecurity and disorder that still stalk a country preparing for its first free election.

Flag-waving crowds converging on Martyrs Square in the capital Tripoli or Freedom Square in Benghazi, cradle of the revolt, had to negotiate extra checkpoints set up authorities to stop Gaddafi loyalists from disrupting festivities.

Spontaneous celebrations began on Thursday night when men, women and children emerged on the streets of Tripoli, Benghazi and other towns waving flags and chanting.

"Despite the problems that remain in the country, this is an amazing day and we want to celebrate," a 22-year-old engineering student called Sarah said in Tripoli.

"Just look at what was achieved in this past year."

Life for many people has improved since the eight-month Nato-backed struggle against Gaddafi and its chaotic aftermath, but security and political woes abound ahead of the June poll.

As it tries to build a democratic state, the ruling National Transitional Council is struggling to impose its authority on a country awash with weapons and to form a functioning national police force and army.

Challenges ahead
As well as imposing order, the government must also rebuild an ageing and damaged infrastructure and boost weak health, judicial and educational systems in the oil-producing country.