Libya's new rulers declared the country freed from Moammar Gadhafi's 42 years of one-man rule on Sunday, saying the "Pharaoh of the times" was now in history's garbage bin and a democratic future beckoned.
Tens of thousands who until this year's revolt had known only Gadhafi's all-powerful police state packed a square in the second city Benghazi to hear the interim National Transitional Council announce Libya had liberated itself fully.
NTC chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil kneeled in prayer after taking the podium and promised to uphold Islamic law.
"All the martyrs, the civilians and the army had waited for this moment. But now they are in the best of places ... eternal heaven," he said, shaking hands with supporters.
"We declare to the whole world that we have liberated our beloved country, with its cities, villages, hilltops, mountains, deserts and skies," said an official who opened the ceremony in Benghazi, the place where the uprising erupted in February and which has been the headquarters for the NTC.
Cheering crowds waved the tri-colour flag.