(CBS News) More than 1,000 detainees escaped from a prison near the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in a massive jailbreak Saturday, officials said, as protesters stormed political party offices in Libya’s main cities.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the jailbreak at the Koyfiya prison came as part of the demonstrations. Protesters had massed across the country angry over the killing of an activist critical of the country’s Muslim Brotherhood group.

Gunmen outside of the prison fired into the air as inmates inside began setting fires, suggesting the jailbreak was preplanned, a Benghazi-based security official said. Those who escaped either face or were convicted of serious charges, a security official at Koyfiya prison said.

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