Libyans mark 7 years since protests that ousted Gaddafi

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(AFP) – Thousands of Libyans on Saturday marked the seventh anniversary of the start of protests that ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi, with rallies and concerts despite the country’s political and economic morass.

In the capital Tripoli, and across many cities in the North African country, thousands packed public squares where the authorities were organising concerts and other festivities.

Libya descended into chaos after the 2011 NATO-backed uprising, with rival militias, tribes and jihadists vying for influence across the oil-rich country.

A 2015 UN-backed deal to set up the unity government in Tripoli was meant to end the turmoil.

But Libya has remained riven by divisions between the Government of National Accord (GNA) and a rival administration backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar in the east.

The GNA has failed to assert its authority across the oil-rich country, which is also grappling with deadly attacks, and a migration crisis seven years since the uprising erupted.

Internationally-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj acknowledged his government’s shortcomings in a televised speech on Saturday to mark the seventh anniversary, and called for national reconciliation.

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