BENGHAZI, Libya - Hundreds of armed protesters have stormed the election commission in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi, witnesses said.
An Al Jazeera team in Tripoli confirmed on Sunday that 1,000 people occupied the election commission building in Benghazi to demand more seats for the city in scheduled upcoming elections.
By late Sunday, an estimated 300 people were still believed to be in the building, chanting slogans, as police attempted to disperse the crowd. The protesters burned election materials outside the office, witnesses said, but there had been no reports of violence.
Men carried computers and ballot boxes from the building and began to crush them while chanting pro-federalism slogans, according to reports.
Al Jazeera's David Poort, reporting from Benghazi, said election materials for the July 7 vote had arrived several days earlier.
"Different protests were held around the city on Sunday and these protests were supposed to come together at the electoral commission," said Poort.
"The commission [had already] received all the necessary election material: printed ballot papers, plastic ballot boxes, ink and voting booths, from Dubai. They were being kept in a warehouse before being distributed to different polling stations," he said, adding that the material that was burned was preliminary paperwork and would not affect the upcoming polls.
The scheduled polls will be the first free election since an uprising last year in which Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from office.
Benghazi, where the uprising began in February 2011, has demanded autonomy from the central government in Tripoli.
The move has been resisted by the National Transitional Council, which has governed Libya since Gaddafi was overthrown.