The Washington Post

Libyans celebrate Eid al-Fitr and fall of Gaddafi in ‘Martyrs’ Square’

Libyans gather in Green Square, renamed Martyrs’ Square, on Wednesday. (Francois Mori/AP)

Late Tuesday, thousands gathered in the capital to mark the end of Ramadan and the end of Moammar Gaddafi’s rule, many of them praying on their knees or crying out in joy in the newly named Martyrs’ Square.

“This is the best holiday of my life,” Adel Masmoudi, who was born the year Gaddafi seized power, told al-Jazeera.

Libyans embrace beneath a pre-Gaddafi flag in Martyrs’ Square. (Abdel Magid Al Fergany/AP)

Rebel forces sent security to stand around the perimeter of the square and patrol the area, and set up snipers on rooftops to protect the gathering. Al-Jazeera reports that celebrations ended peacefully later in the morning.

Despite being just 24 years old, Amari Abdulla told Agence France-Presse: “This is the first time we have felt relaxed in 42 years. . . . We will celebrate [Eid al-Fitr] as in the past, but this time it is simply better. It is a new Libya.”

One Libyan tweeted:

Watch video of the celebrations here:

While rebel forces claim to have control of the country, Gaddafi loyalists have not surrendered in Sirte, Gaddafi's hometown.

Mustafa Abdel Jalil, chairman of the rebel Transitional National Council, on Tuesday gave loyalist forces until Saturday to surrender or said they would face an all-out military assault. A Gaddafi spokesman has rejected the ultimatum.

At the same time, Gaddafi’s son al-Saadi is trying to negotiate the terms of his own surrender, according to the Associated Press.


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