Pro-autonomy leaders in eastern Libya urged followers to cancel planned rallies against central authorities for fear they could ignite violence as the country marks two years since the start of its revolution.

Various opposition and interest groups in Benghazi, source of the 2011 uprising that ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi, are demanding better security and investment for Libya's second biggest city.

Activist Zeid el Ragas said yesterday: "Everyone is carrying weapons in Benghazi and there is still general chaos and confusion. As activists, it's our responsibility to minimise harm in our city, so we will stay home."

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While tomorrow will be the actual two-year anniversary of the start of the anti-Gaddafi revolt, celebrations were beginning last night in remembrance of the arrest of a human rights lawyer in Benghazi that kindled unrest.

Many Libyans, particularly those in the east, have been urging citizens to take to the streets to voice their discontent over the Tripoli government's inability to provide security by disarming militias or moving towards writing a constitution.

Last month Britain urged its nationals to leave Benghazi, citing a specific and imminent threat to Westerners days after a deadly attack by Islamist militants on the In Amenas natural gas complex and taking of hundreds of hostages in neighbouring Algeria.