Every 23 October is a public holiday in Libya known as “Liberation Day”. This is distinct from “Independence Day” and instead celebrates the fall of the dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi.
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The Gaddafi regime began in 1969, when Gaddafi led a bloodless military coup that overthrew the sitting king, Idris I. The new power junta quickly abolished the monarchy and established a socialistic form of government, which naturally aligned itself with the USSR and other Communist style governments around the world.
Although the economy improved during Gaddafi’s over 40-year rule, much of the wealth remained in the hands of Gaddafi’s close allies and his other supporters. Plus, there was ongoing political repression of all opposition groups and a disregard for the rights of the people.
Early in 2011, a rebellion against Gaddafi broke out in Libya, in connection with the “Arab Spring” sweeping much of the Mid-east and North Africa. Eventually, US and NATO forces intervened on the side of the insurgency. The rebels took Tripoli, the capital, in August, but government forces held out until 20 October. Only on 23 October were the rebel forces confident enough to declare victory had been achieved. Now, special ceremonies take place on Liberation Day every 23 October to remember Gaddafi’s downfall.