UPDATE 4-Libya declares nation liberated after Gaddafi death

Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:11pm GMT

* Libyans told to "Raise your head up high"

* Tens of thousands of flag-waving Libyans gather for ceremony

* Official says Gaddafi in "garbage bin of history" (Adds quotes from attendee, analyst)

By Yasmine Saleh and Brian Rohan

BENGHAZI, Libya, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Libya declared its liberation on Sunday after 42 years of one-man rule by Muammar Gaddafi came to an end with his capture and death last week, setting the North African state on course for a transition towards democracy.

"Raise your head high, you are a free Libyan," the vice chairman of the interim National Transitional Council, Abdul Hafiz Ghoga, told a tens of thousands of cheering and flag-waving Libyans in the eastern city of Benghazi.

"Libya, Libya, Libya," they chanted back at a ceremony in the city where the uprising against Gaddafi began in February and where interim council has been based.

One speaker mocked Gaddafi, saying he would be consigned to the "garbage bin of history", after the former leader was caught hiding in a drain on Thursday and killed the same day in chaotic circumstances. Women ululated as officials spoke.


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