U.S. says Benghazi protests show Libyans won't accept tyranny

WASHINGTON Sat Sep 22, 2012 3:47pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States said on Saturday the anger against Islamist militias in Benghazi was a clear sign Libyans were not prepared to allow what it called extremists to dominate.

"It's the view of this administration that it's a pretty clear sign from the Libyan people that they're not going to trade the tyranny of a dictator for the tyranny of the mob," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

"It's also an indication that the Libyan people are not comfortable with the voices of a few extremists and those who advocate and perpetrate violence, to drown out the voices and aspirations of the Libyan people."

The Ansar al-Sharia Islamist militia was driven out of Benghazi early on Saturday in a surge of anger against the armed groups that control large parts of Libya more than a year after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.

A spokesman for the group, which some U.S. and Libyan officials blame for the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last week in which the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed, said it had evacuated its bases "to preserve security in the city".

(Additional reporting by Margaret Chadbourn in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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