Libyan Martyrs’ Day falls on 16 September and is the official day of the year to remember and honour those who died during the struggle for Libyan independence and during the 2011 revolution that ended the rule of Muammar Gaddafi.
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During the first half of the 20th Century, Libya was under the control of Italy as a “nearby overseas” colony. During the reign of fascist Italian dictator Mussolini, many thousands of Libyans were killed, exiled, or died of disease or hunger. Later, even more Libyans lost their lives in the fight for independence against Italy. Martyrs’ Day provides an opportunity to remember these lives.
Finally, those who died under the repressive Gadaffi regime and during the revolution that ultimately overthrew and killed him, are also remembered on Martyrs’ Day. Many peaceful protesters and innocent civilians were killed in the conflict, besides the soldiers who fought Gaddafi’s forces.
Every 16 September, there are special ceremonies and a solemn national feeling as the great cost in lives it took to defeat the enemies of the Libyan people is remembered.