Libya marks revolution day as leader issues warning

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Libyans on Friday celebrated the first anniversary of the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi with fireworks and slogans, even as its new leader vowed to act firmly against further instability.

The former rebels who toppled Gaddafi last year with NATO backing set up fresh checkpoints in the capital Tripoli, in Benghazi, the eastern birthplace of the uprising, the western port city of Misrata and other towns.

The country's new rulers have not organised any official celebrations at a national level as a mark of respect for the thousands of people killed in the bloody conflict that saw Gaddafi captured and slain on October 20.

But spontaneous commemorations began nationwide in cities and towns led by residents of Benghazi, the city which first rose against Gaddafi and his 42-year-old regime.

"We have called in special forces from outside of Benghazi. Soon the roads heading to the square will be closed to vehicles," Omar Farraj, in charge of security for the Tahrir Square celebration in Benghazi, said.

"We want to ensure that the celebrations are peaceful, and we have deployed the thuwar (revolutionaries) across the city."

Men, women and children came out on the streets of Tripoli, Benghazi, Misrata and other towns last evening to begin the celebrations by setting off firecrackers and chanting slogans.

"I will fight with my body, heart and soul for our new Libya," said Mustafa Ahmed Ali, a young recruit of the new Libyan army as he ran with about 100 comrades after passing a military training course in Benghazi on Thursday.

"Curly we are sorry!" shouted children dressed like angels in sarcastic reference to Gaddafi, who bore that nickname because of his distinctive locks, in a procession in Benghazi that started from Tahrir (Liberation) Square.

Benghazi residents will formally celebrate the anniversary this evening at a function expected to be attended by Libya's new ruler Mustafa Abdel Jalil, interim Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib and other dignitaries.

Abdel Jalil warned on Thursday that the revolutionary spirit of Libya and its stability will not be compromised in any way.

"We opened our arms to all Libyans, whether they supported the revolution or not. But this tolerance does not mean we are incapable of dealing with the stability of our country," he said in a television address.

"We will be tough towards people who threaten our stability. The thuwar are ready to respond to any attack aimed at destabilising" the country, Abdel Jalil said.

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