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Gambia Welcomes New President After Decades of Dictatorship

Thousands of supporters line the streets of Gambia's capital Banjul to welcome home new President Adama Barrow.

Gambian President Adama Barrow arrives at Banjul International Airport in Banjul, Gambia on January 26, 2017.

Thousands of people lined the streets of Gambia's capital on Thursday to welcome home the new President days after authoritarian leader Yahya Jammeh fled into exile under pressure from regional forces.

Andrew Renneisen / Getty Images

Supporters of the President cheer as he leaves the Airport.

Barrow, a former real estate agent, won a Dec. 1 election but Jammeh refused to step down, forcing his opponent to be inaugurated at the Gambian Embassy in neighboring Senegal.

Andrew Renneisen / Getty Images

Gambian President Adama Barrow waves to his supporters.

"A new page in Gambian history is being turned," said Mohamed Ibn Chambas, U.N. Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel, who helped negotiate Jammeh's exit, shortly before accompanying Barrow to Banjul.

Barrow's surprise ballot box victory and the determination of Western and African countries to uphold it is being celebrated as a moment of democratic hope for Africa.

Andrew Renneisen / Getty Images
People celebrate the return of their new President. Thierry Gouegnon / Reuters
President Adama Barrow reacts to the crowd of supporters. Afolabi Sotunde / Reuters
The Gambia Armed Forces music band march to form a guard of honour for President Adama Barrow. Afolabi Sotunde / Reuters
Men hang a banner for the inauguration ceremony. Andrew Renneisen / Getty Images
Supporters watch as the President leaves the Airport. Andrew Renneisen / Getty Images
President Adama Barrow, surrounded by supporters and military police. Andrew Renneisen / Getty Images
People wait at the gates for the arrival of the President at the Airport. Carl De Souza / AFP - Getty Images
Supporters of Gambian President watch as he leaves the Airport. Andrew Renneisen / Getty Images
People cheer as President Adama Barrow arrives in the Westfield neighborhood of Serrekunda. Sylvain Cherkaoui / AP