* Libyans told to "Raise your head up high"
* Tens of thousands of flag-waving Libyans gather for
* Official says Gaddafi in "garbage bin of history"
(Adds quotes from attendee, analyst)
By Yasmine Saleh and Brian Rohan
BENGHAZI, Libya, Oct 23 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
"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.
Several speakers referred to years of Gaddafi's "tyranny".
Interim council head, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, began his address
by falling to his knees in a ritual to thank God. He said the
liberation should be celebrated by "praising God and kneeling".
"I call on everyone for forgiveness, tolerance and
reconciliation. We must get rid of hatred and envy from our
souls. This is a necessary matter for the success of the
revolution and the success of the future Libya," he said.
Abdel Jalil declared that Islamic sharia law would be the
basis for legislation, echoing previous statements by the
interim council on the role of Islam.
"We as a Muslim nation have taken Islamic sharia as the
source of legislation, therefore any law that contradicts the
principles of Islam is legally nullified," he said, adding this
included setting up Islamic banking in the North African state.
Gaddafi had for years ruled the nation according to his
idiosyncratic system, outlined in his "Green Book" that he
dubbed "The Third Universal Way".
Omar Salabi, a Libyan political researcher from Benghazi
University, said Abdel Jalil's comments on Sharia law was not
aimed "at business and investment but rather social policy --
for example the financing of people's homes or cars, which
should be without interest."
Abdel Jalil thanked Gulf states, Arab League, the United
Nations, and the European Union for supporting the uprising.
Some in the crowd waved the flag of Qatar, an early backer of
the rebels, and U.S. and European flags in tribute to nations
which provided planes that bombed Gaddafi's troops.
The intervention by NATO warplanes over Libya in March,
after a U.N. resolution was passed, was seen as decisive in
turning the rebellion in favour of anti-Gaddafi forces.
Gaddafi had vowed to show "no mercy, no pity" as his forces
advanced on Benghazi. Shortly after, NATO planes smashed columns
of his heavy weaponry outside the city and opened the way for
the rebel fighters to regain the initiative.
"All the martyrs, the civilians and the army had waited for
this moment. But now they are in the best of places ... eternal
heaven," Abdel Jalil said. "The revolution began as a peaceful
one. But it was faced with violence."
"God bless you Abdel Jalil," shouted Akram Al-Tarabakeh, a
39-year-old Libyan at the celebration, reacting to Abdel Jalil's
speech. "This is a very decent man. He knows our problems, our
needs and what make us happy. God bless him."
Before taking the podium, Abdel Jalil headed to the edge of
the stage and leant over to shake hands of those at the front of
the crowd, who stretched up to reach him.
Many of the attendees were holding banners with the names of
their relatives and friends who died during the revolution,
their pictures, the names of the battles they were killed at and
the date of their deaths.
The ceremony began with an official saying: "We declare to
the whole world that we have liberated our beloved country, with
its cities, villages, hill-tops, mountains, deserts and skies."
Sunday's celebration followed a final assault on Sirte,
Gaddafi's home town where he had been hiding before apparently
trying to make an unsuccessful dash when the city fell. It was
the last major bastion of Gaddafi loyalists.
"No doubt we are at a decisive moment in our beloved Libya's
history," lawyer Abdel Rahman el-Qeesy said, announcing the
creation of a new government portfolio to deal with victims and
families of the martyrs of the uprising.
"Libya is the persevering fighter which has made a liar of
the tyrant Muammar Gaddafi, the contemptible man who has become
a corpse under the feet of our heroes who revolted on Feb. 17
and said to the tyrant 'no'," he said in an impassioned address.
"We are the Libyans. We have shown you who we are Gaddafi,
you Pharaoh of the times. You have fallen into the garbage bin
of history," Qeesy added.
Omar Hariri, one of the officers who took part in Gaddafi's
1969 coup but was later jailed, said, "We do not differentiate
between the civilian revolutionaries and the national army. The
blood of both has mixed here on this battleground."
Many fighters learned how to use rifles and other weapons
for the first time during the rebellion, creating a rag-tag
force that had bags of enthusiasm but lacked a clear command
structure and organisation. It often led to chaotic scenes at
the front-line. But they gradually matured during the conflict.
Hariri, appointed head of the military by the interim
council and one of the interim government's senior military
commanders, promised Libya's army would protect the nation.
Speaking as helicopters flew in formation over the crowds,
he said, "It will completely side with the people, its doctrine
will be protecting the nation, protecting democracy and will not
be an aide to a tyrant."
Salah el Ghazal, another official who addressed the crowd,
paid tributes to the dead and referred to Gaddafi's demise.
"This is the humiliating end that God wanted to set as
example for anyone who practices the worst forms of injustice
... against their people," he said.
The crowd broke out frequently with the rebel cry "Allahu
Akbar" or "God is greatest!"
(Additional reporting by Marwa Awad, Shaimaa Fayed, Omar Fahmy,
Edmund Blair in Cairo and Samia Nakhoul in Amman; Writing by
Dina Zayed and Edmund Blair, Editing by William Maclean and