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Muammar Qaddafi

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2011 was a year of global tumult, marked by widespread social and political uprisings, economic crises, and a great deal more. We saw the fall of multiple dictators, welcomed a new country (South Sudan), witnessed our planet's population grow to 7 billion, and watched in horror as Japan was struck by a devastating earthquake, a tsunami, and a nuclear disaster. From the Arab Spring to Los Indignados to Occupy Wall Street, citizens around the world took to the streets in massive numbers, protesting against governments and financial institutions, risking arrest, injury, and in some cases their lives. Collected here is Part 3 of a three-part photo summary of the last year, covering 2011's last months. Be sure to also see Part 1, and Part 2, totaling 120 images in all. [40 photos]

Occupy Wall Street protesters march and hold signs in New York City on September 17, 2011. Frustrated protesters had been speaking out against corporate greed and social inequality on and near Wall Street for the previous two weeks, further sparking a protest movement that spread across the world. Original here. (CC BY SA Carwil Bjork-James)

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2011 was a year of global tumult, marked by widespread social and political uprisings, economic crises, and a great deal more. We saw the fall of multiple dictators, welcomed a new country (South Sudan), witnessed our planet's population grow to 7 billion, and watched in horror as Japan was struck by a devastating earthquake, a tsunami, and a nuclear disaster. From the Arab Spring to Los Indignados to Occupy Wall Street, citizens around the world took to the streets in massive numbers, protesting against governments and financial institutions, risking arrest, injury, and in some cases their lives. Collected here is Part 1 of a three-part photo summary of the last year, covering 2011's first several months. Be sure to also see Part 2, and Part 3 of the series - totaling 120 images in all. [40 photos + 1 more]

A wave approaches Miyako City from the Heigawa estuary in Iwate Prefecture after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck the area March 11, 2011. The earthquake, the most powerful ever known to have hit Japan, combined with the massive tsunami, claimed more than 15,800 lives, devastated many eastern coastline communities, and triggered a nuclear catastrophe at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station. (Reuters/Mainichi Shimbun)

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Earlier today, rebel Libyan forces stormed into Bab al-Aziziya, the fortified compound of Muammar Qaddafi in Tripoli, Libya. Qaddafi loyalists put up a fierce firefight for a time, but rebels were able to take control of the compound by this afternoon. Qaddafi himself and his sons (who apparently have escaped captivity) remain at large, and gunfire and explosions continued to erupt sporadically across the capital city as night fell. Collected below are some of the scenes from the fall of Qaddafi's compound today. Also see earlier entries: DIY Weapons of the Libyan Rebels, and Qaddafi Losing Grip on Libya. [32 photos]

Rebel fighters stomp on the head of a statue of Muammar Qaddafi inside the main compound in Bab al-Aziziya in Tripoli, Libya, on Tuesday, August 23, 2011. Libyan rebels stormed Muammar Qaddafi's main military compound in Tripoli Tuesday after fierce fighting with forces loyal to his regime that rocked the capital as the longtime leader refused to surrender despite the stunning advances by opposition forces. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)

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Libyan citizens took over Tripoli's main square on Sunday night, as rebel forces claimed to have taken control of much of the capital, and captured two of Muammar Qaddafi's sons. Rebel gains in the past several days brought them to the outskirts of Tripoli, and they practically sped into neighborhoods of the city on Sunday, facing minimal resistance. Qaddafi remains defiant, if unseen, issuing radio statements urging residents of Tripoli to rise up against the rebels. Even as celebrations took place in Benghazi and parts of Tripoli, fighting continues, and Muammar Qaddafi remains nominally in power, even though he appears to have effectively lost much of his control. Also see earlier entries: DIY Weapons of the Libyan Rebels, and Three Months of Civil War in Libya. [44 photos]

People celebrate the capture in Tripoli of Muammar Qaddafi's son and one-time heir apparent, Seif al-Islam, at the rebel-held town of Benghazi, Libya, early Monday, on August 22, 2011. Libyan rebels raced into Tripoli in a lightning advance Sunday that met little resistance as Muammar Qaddafi's defenders melted away and his 40-year rule appeared to rapidly crumble. The euphoric fighters celebrated with residents of the capital in the city's main square, the symbolic heart of the regime. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)

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After weeks of debate, the United Nations finally approved a no-fly zone in Libya, helping rebels fighting Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy at perhaps the last possible moment. Rebels had been driven back by the Libyan army to their last stronghold, the eastern city of Benghazi, and appeared ready to be overrun there as well. Two nights of bombardment by coalition forces have sent the army into retreat, and a missile struck Khadafy's compound in Tripoli, but the final outcome of the conflict is far from clear. Collected here are images from the last few days of fighting. For an earlier Big Picture post on the conflict, see the links below. -- Lane Turner (33 photos total)
Vehicles belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi explode after an air strike by coalition forces, along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah March 20. (Goran Tomasevic/Reuters)

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