Protesters run after an attack on a Libyan militia.
Protesters run after an attack on a Libyan militia, the Libya Shield brigade, headquarters in Benghazi. Photo by Reuters
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At least 28 people were killed in clashes between protesters and militiamen affiliated with Defense Ministry in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, a doctor in the city said early Sunday.

He told the Libyan News Agency LANA that the clashes that began Saturday afternoon had left 55 injured.

Fighting began when protesters gathered outside the offices of the Libya Shield brigade, demanding the disbanding of the group and calling on them to hand over their weapons, according to a military spokesman in Benghazi.

Libya's new rulers have been struggling to assert their authority and re-establish security in the North African country since Moammar Gaddafi's overthrow in 2011.

In Tripoli, thousands took to the streets Saturday to protest all types of armed manifestations or tribal powers.

Demonstrators carried banners reading, "No to illegitimate weapons." Protest organizers said residents of Tripoli will work on the expulsion of any armed tribal or ideological groups other than the army.

Benghazi, the birthplace of the anti-Gaddafi uprising, has seen several deadly clashes and blasts in recent months, as militias who joined the 2011 conflict have yet to lay down their weapons.

An explosion near a children's hospital in Benghazi killed three people in May, after armed groups besieged government buildings in Tripoli to call for officials linked to the regime of Gaddafi to be barred from government posts.

The U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in September on a U.S. diplomatic post in the city of Benghazi in eastern Libya.