Marching bands, aerobatic displays and hundreds of dancers — all are in the mix as the Libyan leadership celebrates 40 years of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s rule.
The nation has launched into a six day extravaganza to which dozens of western heads of state and government have been invited, though European leaders are expected to stay away. Gadaffi has kept a tight grip on the country since seizing power in a coup in 1969. Despite a rapprochment with the West in recent years the military ruler remains a controversial figure on the world stage. His recent warm welcome for the Lockerbie bomber on his return to Libya caused outrage in the US and Britain. The terminally ill Abdel Basset al-Megrahi was released on compassionate grounds by Scottish authorities.