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July 09, 2011 · 11:53 PM UTC
At 1:20 p.m. on Saturday, the southerners officially proclaimed their freedom.
Leaders from around the world gathered today for a ceremony marking the independence of the Republic of South Sudan.
Traditional dancing, singing, military parades, official speakers, and the signing of the constitution took place in the heat of the day.
A sea of people filled Freedom Square in Juba, next to the mausoleum of the late John Garang, the rebel leader who led the South Sudanese during the civil war.
Tens of thousands gathered in Juba under the baking sun.
Security was high throughout Juba, the capital of the world's newest country: South Sudan.
A band played the national anthem to the crowds.
A military parade on Saturday morning kicked off South Sudan's independence celebrations.
After more than five decades of an underdog, guerrilla struggle and two million lives lost, the Republic of South Sudan, Africa’s 54th state, declared its independence.
The President of Southern Sudan Salva Kiir signed the constitution and took his oath of office in from of tens of thousands of people.
A host of world leaders spoke on the podium, but the real party was at the back of the site where thousands danced to traditional drum beats.
Many of those who turned out to celebrate spoke of friends and loved ones killed in the long struggle to break free from the Arab-dominated north.
This new nation is being built on a guerrilla army — the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, whose field commanders are now South Sudan’s political leaders.
From in Politics.
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