Civic leaders in eastern Libya have declared semi-autonomy for their oil-rich region at a meeting in Benghazi.
They say the move is necessary as the region, once known as Cyrenaica, has been neglected for decades.
But the move has caused tension with the governing National Transitional Council in the capital Tripoli.
NTC head Mustafa Abdel Jalil blamed other Arab countries for stirring trouble in Libya and inciting calls for its partition.
However, the declaration has significant popular support among people in Benghazi.