Battle for Libya
General News, first prize stories
Ras Lanuf, Libya
An opposition fighter rests beside the flag of the rebel forces, during a battle for the key oil port of Ras Lanuf, on 11 March. After security forces fired live rounds on demonstrators outside a police station in Libya’s second city of Benghazi, in mid-February, anti-government protests escalated. Over the next few months, opposition to the rule of long-time dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi became a full-scale national revolt. Intense fighting broke out between largely untrained, ad hoc rebel militia and the Libyan military, together with other pro-Gaddafi forces.
On 17 March, the UN Security Council voted to impose a no-fly zone over Libya and called for international military action to protect civilians. Within hours of the UN resolution, NATO planes, with logistic support from several Arab countries, began a bombing campaign that severely impeded the progress of Gaddafi’s forces. By the end of August, the opposition had effectively taken control of the country, though pockets of Gaddafi supporters fought on. Parts of the capital, Tripoli, together with a number of west-Libyan towns, held out longest against the uprising. It was not until 23 October and the capture of Gaddafi, together with the taking of his hometown Sirte after a long siege, that the liberation of Libya was finally declared.
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About the photographer
Rémi Ochlik was born in Lorraine in eastern France in 1983. After graduating from high school, he went to Paris to study photography at Icart photo school and began working for the photography agency Wostok.
In 2004, at the age of 20, Ochlik went to Haiti to photograph the riots and conflict surrounding the fall of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The resulting work was awarded the Francois Chalais Award for Young Reporters and was projected at Visa pour l’Image International Photojournalism Festival.
In 2005, he founded his own photography agency called IP3 Press, with the goal of covering news in Paris and conflicts around the world.
He covered the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2008 and returned to Haiti to cover the cholera epidemic and presidential elections in 2010. In 2011, Ochlik photographed the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions and the uprising and war in Libya. His work has been published in Le Monde Magazine, VSD, Paris Match, Time magazine, and The Wall Street Journal.
He was killed when a shell hit the building where he and other journalists were working in Homs, Syria, on 22 February 2012.