fifty years ago September 2, 1969 Archives

From the Archives (September 2, 1969): Coup in Libya: Republic proclaimed

The Libyan Army has taken over the Government in Libya and proclaimed a Republic, the Italian news agency ANSA reported to-day [September 1, Rome], quoting Radio Benghazi. The coup occurred while King Idris was in Turkey. The coup apparently was led by a group of leftist army and air force officers who promptly established a revolutionary council to rule the country. Maj.-Gen. Sadduddin Shuwier was named its chairman. Tripoli and Benghazi radio stations blared socialist slogans proclaiming the revolution stood for “Arab unity, socialism and freedom.” An Ankara report quoted the Private Secretary of King Idris as saying that the military coup in his country was of “no importance” and that the monarch planned to return to Libya as scheduled. He said over the telephone reports that the King would go to London or Switzerland were not true. He declined further comment. The 79-year-old King is in Bursa in West Turkey undergoing physiotherapy. He arrived in Turkey on August 12 with an entourage of 32, including his wife Queen Fatima. The reason for his trip was given as rest and treatment for a foot ailment. Crown Prince Hassan Erridha, nephew of King Idris, announced by radio that he had resigned from his “constitutional functions” and called on the population to support the military leaders. The Libyan Radio broadcast a message to the people saying “you have just realised one of your old dreams, the advent of a Socialist Republic...”

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