World Bulletin/News Desk
A Libyan militia was swept out of the eastern city of Benghazi in a popular protest against the armed groups that ran into the early hours of Saturday morning, Reuters witnesses said.
At least one person was killed and 20 wounded, a hospital source said, as militias tried to fight the demonstrators from a heavily fortified base. Gunfire could be heard in the area before the fighters were forced out.
Looters carried weapons out of the vacated base compound.
The militia has been linked to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last week in which the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans died. It denies involvement.
The action against the group appeared to be part of a coordinated sweep of militia headquarters buildings by police, government troops and activists following a mass public demonstration against militia units on Friday.
Chanting "Libya, Libya," hundreds of demonstrators entered, pulling down militia flags and torching a vehicle inside headquarters in Benghazi - once the base of forces of former leader Muammar Gaddafi, which tried to put down the first protests that sparked last year's uprising.
Protesters said the militiamen opened fire as they arrived and several people were wounded.
After the crowd entered that compound, Libyan army trucks sped away from the base carrying government troops cheering in victory and crying out, "God is greatest."
Vigilantes armed with machetes and clubs blocked the highway leading away from the compound, stopping cars to prevent looters from driving off with heavy weapons.
The demonstrators also took over a compound belonging to the Abu Slim brigade and another Ansar al-Sharia compound.
Friday's "Rescue Benghazi day" demonstration called for the government to disband armed groups that have refused to give up their weapons since the NATO-backed revolution last year.
"It's obvious that this protest is against the militias. All of them should join the army or security forces as individuals, not as groups," student Ahmed Sanallah said. "Without that there will be no prosperity and no success for the new Libya."
Benghazi, 1,000 km (600 miles) from Tripoli across largely empty desert, is controlled by various armed groups.
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