Diplomats at Libyan embassies in the US, the United Nations, the Arab League, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Poland, India and Bangladesh, among others, have either resigned from their posts, or disavowed links to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's government.
Many say that they now stand with the protesters, and have called for international intervention into what at least one deputy ambassador termed a "genocide".
"How can I support a government killing our people? What I have seen in front of my eyes is not acceptable at all," said Ibrahim Dabbashi, Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations.
"The tyrant Muammar Gaddafi has asserted clearly, through his sons, the level of ignorance he and his children have, and how much he despises Libya and the Libyan people," he said in a statement that was endorsed by the staff at the mission, excluding the ambassador.
"This is in fact a declaration of war against the Libyan people,' Dabbashi told reporters, surrounded by a dozen Libyan diplomats. "The regime of Gaddafi has already started the genocide against the Libyan people.'
The statement called on "the officers and soldiers of the Libyan army wherever they are and whatever their rank is ... to organise themselves and move towards Tripoli and cut the snake's head."
It appealed to the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone over Libyan cities to prevent mercenaries and weapons from being shipped in.
It also urged guards at Libya's oil installations to protect them from any sabotage "by the coward tyrant," and urged countries to prevent Gaddafi from fleeing there and to be on the lookout for any money smuggling.
Dabbashi and his colleagues called on The Hague-based International Criminal Court to start an immediate inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity they said Gaddafi and his sons and followers had committed.
They called on employees of Libyan embassies all over the world to "stand with their people", especially the mission at the UN European headquarters in Geneva, which they said should seek action by the UN Human Rights Council there.
Libyan forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi are waging a bloody operation to keep him in power, with residents reporting gunfire in parts of the capital Tripoli and other cities, while other citizens, including the country's former ambassador to India, are saying that warplanes were used to bomb protesters.
As Gaddafi briefly addressed the nation, his security services continued its remarkably brutal crackdown on dissent. Although foreign media are banned from reporting on the crisis, there were widespread reports of snipers indiscriminately shooting live ammunition into crowds and of dissenters being bombed.
“What we are witnessing today is unimaginable. Warplanes and helicopters are indiscriminately bombing one area after another. There are many, many dead,” Adel Mohamed Saleh. AJ
Nearly 300 people are reported to have been killed in continuing violence in the capital and across the north African country as demonstrations enter their second week.
Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, has warned that the widespread attacks against civilians "amount to crimes against humanity", and called for an international investigation in possible human rights violations.
Witnesses in Tripoli told Al Jazeera that fighter jets had bombed portions of the city in fresh attacks on Monday night. The bombing focused on ammunition depots and control centres around the capital.
Helicopter gunships were also used, they said, to fire on the streets in order to scare demonstrators away.
Several witnesses said that "mercenaries" were firing on civilians in the city, while pro-Gaddafi forces warned people not to leave their homes via loudspeakers mounted on cars.
Residents of the Tajura neighbourhood, east of Tripoli, said that dead bodies are still lying on the streets from earlier violence. At least 61 people were killed in the capital on Monday, witnesses told Al Jazeeera.
Protests in the oil-rich African country, which Gaddafi has ruled for 41 years, began on February 14, but picked up momentum after a brutal government crackdown following a "Day of Rage" on February 17. Demonstrators say they have now taken control of several important towns, including the city of Benghazi, which saw days of bloody clashes between protesters and government forces.
There has been a heavy government crackdown on protests, however, and demonstrators at a huge anti-government march in the capital on Monday afternoon said they came under attack from fighter jets and security forces using live ammunition.
"What we are witnessing today is unimaginable. Warplanes and helicopters are indiscriminately bombing one area after another. There are many, many dead," Adel Mohamed Saleh said in a live broadcast.
"Anyone who moves, even if they are in their car, they will hit you."
Ali al-Essawi, who resigned as Libyan ambassador to India, also told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that fighter jets had been used by the government to bomb civilians.
He said live fire was being used against protesters, and that foreigners had been hired to fight on behalf of the government. The former ambassador called the violence "a massacre", and called on the UN to block Libyan airspace in order to "protect the people".
The country's state broadcaster quoted Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the Libyan leader, and widely seen as his political heir, as saying that armed forces had "bombarded arms depots situated far from populated areas". He denied that air strikes had taken place in Tripoli and Benghazi.
The government says that it is battling "dens of terrorists".
Earlier, Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, said Gaddafi had started a "genocide against the Libyan people".
During Monday's protests, gunfire was heard across the capital, with protesters seen attacking police stations and government buildings, including the offices of the state broadcaster.
Witnesses told the AFP news agency that there had been a "massacre" in Tajura district, with gunmen seen firing "indiscriminately".
In Fashlum district, helicopters were seen landing with what witnesses described as "mercenaries" disembarking and attacking those on the street.
Mohammed Abdul-Malek, a London-based opposition activist who has been in touch with residents, said that snipers have taken positions on roofs in an apparent bid to stop people joining the protests.
Several witnesses who spoke to the Associated Press news agency said that pro-Gaddafi gunmen were firing from moving cars at both people and buildings.
State television on Tuesday dismissed allegations that security forces were killing protesters as "lies and rumours".
Possible 'crimes against humanity'
Benghazi, Libya's second city, which had been the focal point of violence in recent days, has now been taken over by anti-government protesters, after military units deserted their posts and joined the demonstrators.
The runway at the city's airport, however, has been destroyed, according to the Egyptian foreign minister, and so planes cannot land there, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
According to the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (IFHR), protesters are also in control of Sirte, Tobruk in the east, as well as Misrata, Khoms, Tarhounah, Zenten, Al-Zawiya and Zouara.
On Sunday, the US-based rights group Human Rights Watch said that at least 233 people were killed in the violence. Added to that are at least 61 people who died on Monday, which brings the toll since violence began on February 17 to at least 294.
Pillay, the UN's human rights chief, called on Tuesday for an international investigation into the violence in the country, saying that it was possible that "crimes against humanity" had been perpetrated by the Libyan government.
In a statement, Pillay called for an immediate halt to human rights violations, and denounced the use of machine guns, snipers and military warplanes against civilians.
Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell, a major oil company, said on Tuesday that all of its expatriate employees and their depenedents living in Libya have now been relocated.
Emirates airline has suspended all flights to Tripoli on Tuesday, citing the violence in the country, even as Italy, Turkey, Greece and several other countries were preparing to send aircraft to evacuate their nationals from the country.
Two Turkish ships that were sent to evacuate citizens were not allowed to dock at Tripoli, and one of them then sailed to Benghazi in an attempt to dock there, Anita McNaught, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Istanbul, reported.
Egypt's ruling military council said it had sent reinforcements to the main border crossing, the Salum passage, following a withdrawal by Libyan border guards.
The entire Libyan border with Egypt appears to have fallen to opposition forces.
Around 10,000 Egyptian nationals based in their western neighbour are fleeing the violence. Thousands have already returned from Libya since the protests began almost a week ago.
The Egyptian army has set up two field hospitals on the border to deal with the sick and injured.
Egypt says it will send at least four aircraft to evacuate its citizens.
But Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the airport at Benghazi had been destroyed and there were problems getting flight permits.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said the death toll from days of unrest in Libya was likely more than 1,000.
Noting that the situation was chaotic, Mr. Frattini told reporters in Rome that he believed estimates that more than 1,000 Libyan civilians had been killed in the clashes with security forces and government supporters “appear to be true.”
history shows that he will not just leave like mabarack. I listened to people this weekend say its wonderful what the libayan people are doing after seeing what happened in Egypt. Yeah its great but Egypt and Libya are two very different political climates. Gaddafi will kill people without any thought...he will have no problem letting his military tear people apart.
Besieged Libyan Dictator Moammar Gadhafi issued another rant on Thursday, blaming the uprising against his rule on the meddling of al-Qaida and the consumption of hallucinogenic drugs. Libya's just-resigned justice minister, meanwhile, warned al-Jazeera that Gadhafi will use chemical and biological weapons against his own people.
In a phone call addressed to residents of the town of al-Zawiya, Col Gaddafi said young people were being duped with drugs and alcohol to take part in "destruction and sabotage".
The telephone call addressed al-Zawiya, 50km (30 miles) west of the capital, where fighting now appears to be the most fierce.
Col Gaddafi said the protesters had no genuine demands and were being dictated to by the al-Qaeda leader.
"Bin Laden... this is the enemy who is manipulating people. Do not be swayed by Bin Laden," he said.
"It is obvious now that this issue is run by al-Qaeda. Those armed youngsters, our children, are incited by people who are wanted by America and the Western world.
He said the young protesters were "trigger happy and they shoot especially when they are stoned with drugs".
I have a co-worker that Lois acts and prides himself on looking like tact that told me that thus wouldn't have happened had bush sr. Been in office. Granted it was a ploy, but I wanted to tear his heart out of his chest. I imagine it might feel really good.