(Reuters): - Crowds of joyful Libyans, some with tears in their eyes, parted with the legacy of Muammar Gaddafi's dictatorship on Saturday as they voted in the first free national election in 60 years.

But in the eastern city of Benghazi, cradle of last year's uprising but where many now want more autonomy from the interim government in Tripoli, protesters stormed a handful of polling stations and publicly burned hundreds of ballot papers.

Authorities said gunmen prevented voters from entering some polling stations in the eastern oil port town of Ras Lanuf and other centers in the restive south failed to open, but said that overall, 94 percent of stations were running normally.

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