World Bulletin / News Desk
Hundreds of Libyans handed in weapons left over from last year's war on Saturday, part of a drive by the North African country to rid its streets of arms and crack down on rogue militia groups.
As the day went on, a trickle of people turned into longer lines in Tripoli and in the eastern city of Benghazi, where tents were set up in squares for military officials to collect arms, explosives and even rocket propelled grenade launchers.
Amid a celebratory atmosphere, women and children looked on as men queued to turn over their weapons as they listened to a military marching band and pop music.
"We want our country to be safe and secure ... We don't want to see weapons anymore," Tripoli resident Mohammed Salama said, as he stood in line to hand over a rifle.
"We want to live our lives. The time of war is over."
Libya's new rulers have struggled to impose their authority on a country awash with weapons, and many Libyans are fed up with militias, formed during the war but which still patrol the streets and often take the law into their own hands.
Saad Bakar, head of a small brigade in Benghazi, handed over rifles and ammunition on Saturday, saying he was ready to disband his group.
"We were waiting until today to make sure that the weapons go to the right place," he said. "We want to join the army as individuals."
In Benghazi, an organiser said more than 800 people had been registered as having come to the collection point. In Tripoli, an army official did not give an exact figure but said the number had superseded expectations of around 200 people.
One participant said he had even heard that a tank had been handed over.
Those numbers suggest a fraction of the arms that spilled out of Muammar Gaddafi's arsenals have been handed over but the initiative is seen as a step forward in a country where many still keep their weapons citing a precarious security situation.
"I want to live in a peaceful place where only the police and army have arms," Benghazi businessman Ibrahim Ali said after handing over a machine gun.
But he said he would still keep hold of his rifle for now. "When I can call the police and they are able to arrive quickly, then I can give them that weapon," he said.
The collection drive is a collaboration between the army and a private television station which drummed up support through live broadcasts from Tripoli and Benghazi.
Organisers in both cities, who said the event would be repeated in other cities, planned to raffle off prizes, including cars at the end of the day-long collection.
"Libyan people need stability ... They are handing over weapons to the military so that they are kept in the right place and not on the streets," said Yussef al-Mangoush, the army's chief-of-staff. "This is the beginning, we began this in Tripoli and Benghazi. We will go to other cities."
Mohammed Arusi, a 58 year old engineer who was queuing to hand over a rifle in Tripoli, said he was satisfied the security situation was changing for the better.
"It's not like before, the army is getting stronger," he said. "You cannot buy safety, you have to feel safe. And I feel safe right now."
But the euro dropped after Chancellor Angela Merkel's "unconvincing election victory," as LCG analyst Jasper Lawler put it.
EU, US should not criticize move to declare it terrorist group, says Nigeria's presidential assistant on prosecution
Major unions call on their members to disrupt oil transfer after labor reforms were signed last week
There has been a decade-long split between Gaza and the occupied West Bank since 2007
Only 14 lawmakers with Turkish background elected to 709-seat Bundestag, where far-right became third-largest group
Voters in KRG-held areas vote in a controversial referendum on whether to secede from Iraq
Chief imam in the commercial hub of Lago since 2000, Sheikh Garba Akinola-Ibrahim died after a protracted illness
On eve of vote, Haider al-Abadi says Baghdad will not recognize results of controversial Kurdish region referendum
One day before Kurdish region’s independence referendum, KRG's Masoud Barzani reiterates that polls will not be postponed
Conservatives projected to win 33 pct of votes, far-right AfD wins 13.3 pct, set to enter parliament as 3rd-largest party
When the ceasefire was announced in September, President Juan Manuel Santos, also gave the later date. After that, Santos said, it would be extended in line with progress in peace negotiations.
A resident raised the alarm at around 10:30 pm and the bomb squad was on site in the suburb of Lambersart as a precaution.
In the end, her conservatives may be forced into torturous coalition haggling, possibly with their biggest campaign rivals, to stay in power and secure Merkel a fourth term.
Transport for London said the conduct of Uber, which has around 40,000 drivers and 3.5 million customers in the British capital, had raised safety concerns.
Police were called late Saturday to the Stratford Centre near London's Olympic Stadium after a noxious substance was sprayed during an argument between two groups of males.
The protest began on Friday and swelled over the weekend after fruitless negotiations between activists, city authorities and new artistic director Chris Dercon, the former head of London's Tate Modern.