this day in 1969, a military coup placed Muammar Gaddafi in power in Libya, beginning a brutal dictatorship which would last forty-two years. Coming from a poor background, Gaddafi rose through the ranks of the Libyan military, ultimately reaching the position of Colonel. It was in this capacity that he led a band of revolutionaries who
toppled King Idris in a bloodless coup, resulting in Colonel Gaddafi becoming Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, which promptly dissolved the monarchy.
Gaddafi believed strongly in Arab nationalism and Islamic socialism, making Islamic shariah law the basis of Libya’s legal system. Gaddafi’s
regime violated the human rights of Libyan citizens, such as his open
use of torture, and alienated the international community with his alleged support of terrorism. In 2011, after forty-two years of the Gaddafi regime, forces opposed to his rule led an
uprising amid the Arab Spring. NATO intervened to support anti-Gaddafi forces, and ultimately his
government was toppled, with Gaddafi himself being killed by rebels while
hiding in Sirte in October 2011.
WPC Yvonne Fletcher lies mortally wounded after being hit by gunfire discharged from inside the Libyan embassy into a crowd of anti - Gaddafi protesters. Her fiancé who was also on duty is one of the police officers administering aid. St James Square, London. April 17th, 1984.