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LIBYA: Protesters celebrate 'liberation'

February 23, 2011 |  1:14 pm

Derna Benghazi, the Mediterranean port of about 700,000 that has served as the cradle of the Libyan revolt, erupted in jubilation Wednesday, Reuters reported.

Thousands of celebrants were out on the streets, lighting fireworks and condemning Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi. They waved red, green and black flags throughout the city center, giving out snacks and juice to passing drivers, who honked their horns in support. People danced, cheered and played loud music, Reuters said.

Anti-Kadafi protesters hung effigies with "Mercenaries" written on them from lamp-posts, saying paid gunmen from Africa were sent by Kadafi to try to suppress them. "Libya is Free! Libya is Free!" they chanted. "God is Great!" Reuters said.

Alongside buildings charred in the violence, one man held up a picture of Kadafi 's head grafted onto a pig's body as trucks full of exuberant opponents of the Libyan leader screeched around the streets of "Free Benghazi," Reuters said.

Smaller celebrations were said to take place in Tobruk and Derna in the country's east, as well as Misurata in the west. The country's capital, Tripoli, remained in virtual lockdown, Al Jazeera reported. 

-- Garrett Therolf

Photo: Libyan protesters shout anti-Kadafi slogans during a demonstration in the eastern Libyan town of Derna, between Tobruk and Benghazi. Credit: AFP/Getty Images.

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