Cradle of Libya revolt seeks autonomy from new rulers

By REUTERS
April 16, 2012 16:52

 
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BENGHAZI - It is the cradle of Libya's revolution: the Benghazi square where protesters just over a year ago first demanded the fall of Muammar Qaddafi and waved the black, green and red flag that came to symbolize their rebellion.

Last month demonstrators were back at the same spot, now part of a Libya free of Qaddafi. This time they also waved another flag, with a white star and crescent etched on a black background - the flag of eastern Libya.

This flag has become the banner of a push for regional autonomy that has enraged Libya's new leadership and raised questions about whether the country, focus of huge optimism after it forced out Qaddafi, can hold together now he has gone.

Eastern Libya, with Benghazi as its main city, has historical reasons for being suspicious of central rule.

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