Libya militiamen open fire at Benghazi base: protester

BENGHAZI, Libya Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:59pm EDT

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BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Several people were wounded on Friday when militiamen opened fire as protesters arrived at their base in the Libyan city of Benghazi, a demonstrator said.

An ambulance driver said seven or eight people had been wounded. Reuters correspondents could hear gunfire coming from the direction of the compound in the western Hawari district .

"We came as peaceful protesters. When we got there, they started shooting at us," student Sanad al-Barani said while returning from the area. "Five people were wounded beside me. They used 14.5-calibre machine guns."

Earlier, scores of demonstrators stormed the base of the Islamist Ansar al-Sharia brigade in what appeared to be a coordinated sweep of militia headquarters buildings by police, government troops and activists following a mass public demonstration against militia units earlier in the day.

(Reporting by Peter Graff; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Ralph Gowling and Peter Cooney)

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