Libya`s monarchist flag turns into rebel emblem

The rebels have not so far broached a return to monarchy in the country which has been ruled by Gaddafi for 42 years.

Updated: Aug 25, 2011, 10:12 AM IST

Tripoli: Libya`s rebel flag, which evolved from that of the monarchy, has been hoisted at numerous Libyan overseas embassies and is being waved by jubilant opponents of
Muammar Gaddafi who say they have taken control of most of the country.

Consisting of a white crescent and star on a horizontal red, black and green triband -- with the central black band twice the width of the outer bands --- the flag was adopted as
the rebel emblem at the start of the uprising against Gaddafi in February in the eastern stronghold of Benghazi.

The rebels have not so far broached a return to monarchy in the country which has been ruled by Gaddafi for 42 years, since he toppled King Idriss in a 1969 military coup.

The flag was adopted when Libya became independent on December 24, 1951 with Idriss as its head of state.

Before being adopted across Libya in 1951, the monarchist flag was already that of the eastern region of Cyrenaica from December 1950. Cyrenaica`s main city, Benghazi, has led the revolt against Gaddafi.

The flag of Cyrenaica was inspired by that of the Ottoman Empire to which it and the province of Tripoli belonged from 1551 to 1912, before being ceded to Italy, which unified the country in 1934.

It flew until being replaced in 1969 following the Libyan Revolution by three of the pan-Arab colours -- red, white and black, but without the fourth colour green.

In 1972, when Libya joined the Federation of Arab Republics, the federation`s flag was adopted, featuring a golden hawk holding a scroll with the Arabic name of the
federation.

PTI