Hundreds of armed Libyan men calling for Islamic law staged a demonstration on Thursday in the eastern city of Benghazi, an AFP photographer said.
More than 300 men poured into Benghazi’s iconic Freedom Square, some of them on vehicles mounted with anti-aircraft guns and heavy weapons.
“We will not be under a government that doesn’t rule in accordance with what God has mandated (in the Koran)” and “Democracy is a Western system of government in contradiction with the Islamic way” read some signs.
Others had black banners with “There is no God but God” written in white.
A counter rally, which included dozens of activists and several women in its ranks, emerged in protest over the presence of weapons. It succeeded in pushing the men out of the square after sunset without incident.
The demonstration intervenes ahead of elections for a constituent assembly, a vote the ruling National Transitional Council has pledged to hold by June 19.
It comes one day after the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi was hit by a home-made bomb that wounded one guard.
Benghazi is the cradle of a popular revolt that led to the ouster and death of Moamer Kadhafi last year.