TRIPOLI, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Libyans took to the streets Sunday to commemorate the second anniversary of a political upheaval that toppled former leader Muammar Gaddafi, with security forces on high alert in case of fresh violence.
In the eastern city of Benghazi, the cradle of the 2011 unrest, Mohamed al-Mugarif, head of the General National Congress, paid homage to "martyrs of the revolution" and "true revolutionaries" who helped bring down Gaddafi.
Speaking to hundreds of flag-waving people, he also urged Libyans to "join ranks and resolve our differences to build our nation," saying his countrymen should "roll up the sleeves and participate in the process of building the country."
Al-Mugarif added that Libya, roiled by instability and violence since the ouster of the Gaddafi regime, would fight poverty and "marginalization" and give its citizens extra cash to mark the occasion.
Warning of the rise of radical Islam in the country, he said he would not allow Libya to become "an incubator of terrorism and violence."
"We emphasize to our partners our determination that Libya does not become a base for or source of terrorism," al-Mugarif said, adding that his congress would soon launch an initiative for national dialogue to build consensus.
In Tripoli, tens of thousands of people gathered at the capital's main square for celebration. Prime Minister Ali Zaidan hailed what he called Libyans' rejection of "injustice and tyranny."
"The joy that motivated people in towns and villages on Feb. 15 and 16 has allowed Libyans to prove to the world that they are a civilized people who revolted against injustice and tyranny to gain freedom," he said.
For the celebration of the anniversary, the Libyan government has taken additional security measures to contain possible attempts to sow chaos in the country.
Last week, Zaidan announced a four-day closure of Libyan borders with Egypt and Tunisia, as well as a suspension of international flights at all airports except Tripoli and Benghazi, during days around the anniversary.
Checkpoints have also been set up around the two cities, where the authorities have threatened force against anyone who tried to derail Sunday's festivities.
Due to the wide spread of weapons in civilian hands and a loose central control, the new government is still facing huge security challenges, according to officials.
In addition, the government also needs to deal with issues including the lack of infrastructure, war trauma rehabilitation, army rebuilding, illegal immigration, and foreign affairs.