Sunday, July 3, 2011

Green Square at dusk

Green Square Tripoli

Green Square is the location of the unmarked grave of MC Richard Somers, Lt. Henry Wasdsworth, Lt. Joseph Israel and five volunteers who perished in the Sept. 4, 1804 explosion of the USS Intrepid in Tripoli harbor.

For your GPS, the coordinates of Green Square:
32 degree 53’42’N 13 degrees 10’52’E

Green Square (Arabic: الساحة الخضراء‎ As Sāḥah āl Ḥaḍrā), also known as Martyrs' Square (Arabic: Maidan Al Shohdaa‎) is a downtown landmark at the bay in the city of Tripoli, Libya. The main commercial center of the city surrounds the square.

Green Square, also formerly known as Independence Square, will be renamed Martyr's Square after the revolution.

Green Square was originally constructed by the Italian colonial rulers. It features Tripoli's Red Castle on one side, with a wide avenue leading towards the seafront with two tall pillars. On top of the pillars are an iron-cast miniature wooden ship, the other one features a horse-back rider.

The Royal Miramare Theater used to be located across the Red Castle, but it was ripped down under Colonel Gadaffi after the 1960's to create space for large demonstrations. The square was named Independence Square during the Libyan monarchy and renamed Green Square after the 1969 revolution by Gadaffi, to mark his movement.

The square used to be directly next to the sea, but land reclamation has left it further away from the shoreline.

The National Museum, located within Tripoli's Red Castle (Assai al-Hamra).A part of it is said to have been built by the Spanish and the Maltese Knights of St. John during a short Christian interlude between 1510 and 1551 when the Turks took over. Most of it dates from the 18th century. It was also the quarters of successive Turkish governors.

The Volkswagon Bug that Col. Gadhafi drove into Tripoli during his 1969 coup is also exhibited in the museum.

Green Square was the center of ceremonies marking the 40th anniversary of Gadhafi's coup, and is also the epicenter of the current Libyan Revolution.

2011 Libyan protests

As part of the 2011 Libyan protests, since February 20 there are reports of both anti-government protests (20th and 25th) and a pro-Gaddafi speech rally (25th) occurring at different times in Green Square. Due to violence in Tripoli it is not continuously occupied. Between 600 and 700 unarmed peaceful anti-gaddafi protesters where murdered in the square. "It was like a scene from a horror film."

On July 1 2011 Gaddafi spoke to hundreds of thousands of supporters who gathered in Green Square to protest NATO troop involvement. Some of the supporters came to the protest armed, and at the end of the speech the sound of gunfire could be heard as the crowd applauded.

After the rally, the bodies of executed political prisoners were dropped off at the doors of their families who refused to attend the rally.

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