Thousands of Libyans on Saturday marked the seventh anniversary of the start of protests that ousted former leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

In the capital Tripoli, and across many cities in the North African country, thousands packed public squares where the authorities were organising concerts and other festivities.

The celebrations were held amid political and economic challenges that the country is facing.

Libya descended into chaos after the 2011 NATO-backed uprising, with rival militias, tribes and jihadists vying for influence across the oil-rich country.

A 2015 UN-backed deal to set up the unity government in Tripoli was meant to end the turmoil. But Libya has remained riven by division between the Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez al-Sarraj and a rival administration backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar in the east.

The country is grappling with civil war, humanitarian crises and the threat from militant groups leading some to suggest Gaddafi should not have been removed from power.

It has also become a major transit hub for African migrants trying to reach Europe.

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