Arab uprising: Country by country - Libya

  • Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali
    Aged 75
    Deposed after 23 years

  • Hosni Mubarak
    Aged 84
    Deposed after 29 years

  • Muammar Gaddafi
    Aged 68
    Killed after 42 years

  • Ali Abdullah Saleh
    Aged 70
    Deposed after 33 years

  • Bashar al-Assad
    Aged 48
    In power since 2000

  • King Hamad al-Khalifa
    Aged 63
    In power since 1999

  • King Abdullah Al Saud
    Aged 89
    In power since 2005

  • King Mohammed VI
    Aged 50
    In power since 1999

  • Abdelaziz Bouteflika
    Aged 76
    In power since 1999

  • King Abdullah II
    Aged 51
    In power since 1999

  • Sultan Qaboos bin Said
    Aged 73
    In power since 1970

  • Sheikh Sabah Al Sabah
    Aged 84
    In power since 2006

  • "We had a clean revolution. The former president turned out to be a coward. He just ran away. Not like the others - like the poor Libyans, or in Syria - but it lit the fuse to all the other revolutions"
    Wassim Herissi, radio DJ
  • "Our country's condition was getting worse and worse. There was corruption, torture, injustice, inequality and no freedom. Someone had to stand up and say 'enough is enough'"
    Ahmed Raafat Amin, protester
  • "It's freedom. There's no Gaddafi, unbelievable. I feel the freedom. I smell the freedom."
    Lamin el-Bijou, Banghazi resident
  • "If they are trying to scare us, they are wrong. We will continue. Let them come and burn the whole square, we will not leave."
    Protester in Change Square, Sanaa
  • "The Tunisians had already been freed. The Egyptians were on their way to be free. We thought it was our turn to be free too"
    Amer Matar, organiser of the first major protest in Syria
  • "We don't fear death any more, let the army come and kill us to show the world what kind of savages they are"
    Protester, Pearl Square, Manama
  • "I don't believe that liberal democracy will be put in place tomorrow but we have to start somewhere. Equality, the rule of law - the country is ready for this. We have to start the process"
    Dr Tawfik Alsaif, dissident campaigner
  • "They dare to voice criticism that they haven't dared to before; they dare say we want a king who does not rule, but who is a symbol. They dare to say and discuss this. Before it was not permitted"
    Mohamed El-Boukili, Moroccan Association for Human Rights
  • "One day this will be bigger than Tahrir Square - but not today. We will keep returning every week though until things begin to change and Algeria has democracy"
    Young protester at a rally
  • "We have to keep the pressure on this government. We are in the streets and we'll stay in the streets until we see all these demands working on the ground"
    Muhannad Sahafiin, protester
  • "Oman's stability was always just a cover... Oman is still a bomb waiting to explode"
    Basma al-Kiyumi, activist
  • "We have a government that doesn't listen, doesn't see and all it does is deceiving the people."
    Obeid al-Wasmi, opposition politician

What happened?

Map of Libya with pre-Gaddafi era flag

Libya's uprising began in February 2011 after security forces in the eastern city of Benghazi opened fire on a protest.

Anti-government demonstrations then erupted in other towns before eventually reaching Tripoli. They swiftly evolved into an armed revolt seeking to topple to Muammar Gaddafi.

In March 2011, after the UN Security Council authorised "all necessary measures" to protect civilians, Nato powers launched air strikes on government targets, ostensibly aimed at imposing a no-fly zone. With military assistance from the West and several Arab states, rebel forces took Tripoli after six months of fighting in which several thousand people were killed. After four decades in power, Gaddafi went on the run and was captured and killed outside Sirte in August 2011.

The National Transitional Council (NTC), which led the revolt, declared Libya officially "liberated" and promised a pluralist, democratic state. In July 2012, it organised elections for an interim parliament, the General National Congress (GNC), in which liberal, secular and independent candidates beat the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned Justice and Construction Party.

Where are we now?

Since Gaddafi's overthrow Libya has been plagued by instability, with some 300 revolutionary militias clashing repeatedly, defying requests to disarm and besieging government buildings. Many Libyans also complain of uneven regional development, unemployment and a lack of government transparency.

Plans for the election of a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution were announced in September 2013.

More on This Story

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