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In Pictures
In Pictures: South Sudan is born
Tens of thousands celebrate their nation's first ever Independence Day in Juba.
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2011 15:55

On July 9, tens of thousands gathered in Juba to celebrate the birth of the world's newest nation, South Sudan. Citizens along with a number of foreign dignitaries watched as the flag of the world's 193rd country was raised in its new capital. South Sudan seceded from Sudan after decades of civil war that cost millions of lives. At the Independence Day ceremony in Juba, a statue was raised of John Garang - the longtime leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement - and South Sudan president Salva Kiir Mayardit stood side by side with Omar al-Bashir, his counterpart in the north and a longtime opponent of southern independence. 

1) South Sudanese flags, the former flag of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, flutter in Juba on July 7, two days before South Sudan secedes from the north and becomes the world's newest nation [Roberto Schmidt/AFP]

 

2) Residents of Juba in South Sudan celebrate in the streets just minutes after midnight on July 9, the day of their new nation's birth [Roberto Schmidt/AFP]

 

3) South Sudanese boys hold candles at midnight on July 9 to mark the day that South Sudan will officially declare independence from the north [Marc Hofer/AFP]

 

4) A large crowd waves the new South Sudan flag during the unveiling of a statue of late South Sudan rebel leader John Garang during a ceremony celebrating the independence [Roberto Schmidt/AFP]

 

5) Sudan People's Liberation Army soldiers parade through the ceremony [Goran Tomasevic/Reuters]

 

6) Independence comes six months after a January referendum in which nearly 99 per cent of South Sudanese voted to separate from the north [Goran Tomasevic/Reuters]

 

7) Woman dance during the Independence Day ceremony [Goran Tomasevic/Reuters]

 

8) A man with his face painted with the South Sudan flag attends the Independence Day ceremony in Juba [Goran Tomasevic/Reuters]

 

9) South Sudan's president Salva Kiir (L) and Sudan's president Omar Hassan al-Bashir attend the Independence Day ceremony in Juba. Addressing the crowd Kiir said: "We should have a new beginning of tolerance where cultural and ethnic diversity will be a source of pride ... Remember we are all South Sudanese first" [Thomas Mukoya/Reuters]

 

10) "We are free," Helen Joseph , a young woman standing in the crowd next to her mother, told Al Jazeera. "We have only known war. Now we can know peace" [Roberto Schmidt/AFP]

 

11) A female priest blesses a child as she prays in front of a statue of John Garang. Most South Sudanese are Christians, unlike the north where most adhere to Islam [Roberto Schmidt/AFP]

 

12) A traditional dance group performs in Juba on the day of South Sudan's independence [Roberto Schmidt/AFP]
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