Violence in Libya Widely Condemned

As protests in Libya continue for the removal of long time dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi, scores of international bodies and governments have stepped out in condemnation of the violence used by Libyan security forces.

"The world is watching the situation in Libya with alarm. We join the international community in strongly condemning the violence in Libya," wrote U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in a statement released yesterday. "Our thoughts and prayers are with those whose lives have been lost, and with their loved ones. "

Hundreds of protestors have been killed so far in clashes with Libyan forces, who have been using tanks, helicopters, and other weapons to quell the conflict which began last week.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard noted: "There is no excuse and no tolerance from the Australian Government, for violence being reaped against peaceful protesters. So our message to the Government of Libya, to Colonel Gaddafi is that they must respect peaceful protest."

The World Council of Churches' Central Committee, the highest governing body of the Protestant association, also joined the condemnation, expressing its "deep concern" about the reports of violence.

"The WCC Central Committee condemns the use of force on all sides of the conflict," the group said in a statement on Tuesday. "We call all parties to respect the human rights of all people in Libya and we urge that ways be found to establish a peaceful dialogue to end the violence, and that efforts be made to ensure a future that brings peace with justice and security for all people."

"We pray and hope for the safety of the people of Libya, and for a non-violent and just resolution of this current conflict," they added.

Meanwhile, the United Nations' Security Council held an emergency meeting on Tuesday and are expected to demand a halt to the violence later today.

"The scale of violence by the Libyan security forces against peaceful demonstrators is really shocking," German Ambassador Peter Wittig told reporters. "We think it's a case for the Security Council, and the council should act with a swift and clear message."

The Libyan protests are some of the latest in a train of uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa following revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.

Libyan leader Gaddafi was defiant on Tuesday, saying that he would not step down and vowing to execute those who opposed the government.

Gaddafi, 68, who has been in power for over 40 years, said that he would die as a martyr in his country and will stay "until the last drop of blood is spilled."

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