Libya ends 24-hour isolation

Libya has restored international telephone links and reopened its ports after isolating itself for 24 hours to mourn thousands who were deported during the Italian occupation and never returned.

    Qadhafi threatened to boot out Italian companies if compensation was not paid

    On Sunday, flags flew at half mast, black banners hung from public buildings and civil servants wore black armbands, while state television broadcast only in black and white.

     

    In the schools, teachers began the day with a speech reminding pupils of the "drama of their grandparents." Both airports and sea ports were closed, but have since reopened.

     

    The state-run news agency JANA said "more than 5000 Libyans were uprooted from their land and deported to Italian islands by colonizers starting on 26 October 1911" in order to break the will of the resistance.

     

    Mourning

      

    JANA said that the Foreign Ministry stressed that 26 October each year is a day of mourning in memory of thousands of men, women and children and elderly who were deported starting in 1911.

      

    "In commemorating this historic crime which affected every Libyan family, the Libyan people demand their right to compensation from Italy," the statement said.

      

    Libya also demands "to know the fate of these exiles and demands the return of their descendents if they are still living," it added.

     

    "The Libyan people demand their right to compensation from Italy"

    Libyan Foreign Ministry

    On 7 October, Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi threatened to boot Italian companies out of Libya if Rome did not provide compensation for acts committed in the colonial period from 1911-1942.

      

    In July 1998, Rome and Tripoli signed a joint statement on the colonial period in which Italy apologised officially to the Libyan people for damages it caused during the occupation.

      

    In the document, Italy pledged to help remove thousands of landmines still left in the country from World War II and build a hospital.

      

    Qadhafi is demanding compensation, but Rome considers the issue settled by an agreement concluded in 1956 with King Idriss, who was overthrown by Qadhafi's coup in 1969.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.