BENGHAZI: People in Libya are celebrating the first anniversary of the revolution that topped the regime of former dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
Spontaneous celebrations began in cities and towns across the country late Thursday.
In the eastern city of Benghazi, security officials were on high alert as hundreds of people cheered and waved flags outside the city's courthouse. Formal celebrations are expected there on Friday.
Many Libyans expressed a sense of satisfaction and optimism with the gains achieved since the revolution.
However, the former government minister, Mr Ali Al Tarhoni said there was still work to be done.
"Yes of course. The revolution has met one of its important demands – which is liberating the country and toppling the autocratic regime, but now we are passing through another stage to rebuild the country," he said. "It is a stage that faces major challenges, we meet the kind of challenges that are different than we overcame in the last stage. My question is, are we able to overcome these challenges to build the democratic and Islamic country? I'm so optimistic because I think we have the abilities to do so."
Transitional forces launched the uprising last February and drove Gadhafi out of Tripoli in August, ending his 42-year rule. Thousands of people were killed or injured in the conflict. Gadhafi was killed last October as opposition forces overran his hometown of Sirte.