Colonel Muamar Gaddafi led a day of celebrations in the Libyan Jamahiriya on Monday (12 June) marking the eighth anniversary of the withdrawal of American forces from his country.
CU Colonel Muamar Gaddafi speaking at rally
GV Chanting crowd
GV Fly past by aircraft information as crowds chant (4 shots)
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Background: Colonel Muamar Gaddafi led a day of celebrations in the Libyan Jamahiriya on Monday (12 June) marking the eighth anniversary of the withdrawal of American forces from his country.
SYNOPSIS: The President's appearance at the mass rally was the centrepiece of the annual celebrations. Colonel Gaddafi has used the anniversary in former years for important statements about his country's relations with his Arab neighbours. This year's rally was more an opportunity for Libyans to demonstrate their support for the present regime. Libyan Jamahiriya has faced criticism in recent weeks from Zaire, which accused it of joining the Soviet Union, Cuba and Algeria in backing the insurgents in the Shaba province. Its a charge that Colonel Gaddafi's Foreign Secretariat has dismissed as "groundless". They accused Zaire of "resorting to gratuitous accusations." The Colonel's regime, intensely nationalist, has in its turn, been critical of foreign intervention in the conflict in Ethiopia, although no mention was made of either Cuba or the Soviet Union.
The celebrations have for eight years rivalled those marking the overthrow of the monarchy in 1969, the beginning of the revolution that brought Colonel Gaddafi to the leadership. Since the Second World War, both Britain and American had maintained military bases in the country. But in 1970, the new regime called for their removal. The Americans were the last to leave. The Libyan Jamahiriya Air Force now is equipped with Soviet MIGs and Mirage fighters supplied by France.