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Libyan mission in Oz cut ties with Gaddafi: report

world Updated: Feb 22, 2011 13:38 IST

The Libyan embassy in the Australian capital Canberra has cut ties with the regime back home, one of its diplomats claimed on Tuesday, saying the mission now represents the people of the country and not the government of Muammar Gaddafi.

"We represent the Libyan people and no longer the Libyan regime," the embassy's cultural counsellor Omran Zwed was quoted as saying by the media.

He condemned the use of force by authorities against peaceful protesters in Libya, where the revolt against Gaddafi's 41-year rule entered the eight day on Tuesday.

Libya's ambassador to Australia, Musbah Allafi, met Department of Foreign Affairs' first assistant secretary David Stuart this morning, as the Julia Gillard government said it was considering evacuating Australians from Libya.

About 40 members of the Libyan community here loudly voiced their support for pro-democracy demonstrators at home and urged the Gillard government to intervene by making representations to the UN, urging an end to the bloodshed.

Prime Minister Gillard said the Department of Foreign Affairs had upgraded its travel advice for Libya to 'Do Not Travel.'

Gillard described the scenes in Libya as "shocking," calling on Gaddafi's regime to allow peaceful protests.

"For Australians who are in Libya... we are talking around about 80 Australians, our advice to them is to travel out of Libya if it is safe for them to do so," she said.

"We are starting to canvas evacuation options should that be necessary."

Gillard condemned the violence in the oil-rich state, which came after the overthrow of regimes in Egypt and Tunisia and street violence and protests in the tiny Gulf state of Bahrain.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence that people have seen on their TV screens, we condemn in the strongest possible terms the use of the military against peaceful protesters," Gillard said.

"There is no excuse and no tolerance from the Australian government for violence being wreaked against peaceful protesters."

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd urged the United Nations to condemn the use of violence by the Libyan regime and described actions against protesters as "gross human rights violations".

"If the regime uses full force to survive, we may be looking at mass casualties," Rudd warned.