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Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi made an appearance on state-run television early Tuesday morning to put to rest speculations that he had fled to Venezuela after anti-government protesters took control of several cities in the north African country and reached capital Tripoli.
"I want to have some rest," the embattled Libyan leader told a reporter in front of what Libyan television said was his house as he pulled out an umbrella in the rain.
"Because I was talking to the young man at Green Square, and I want to stay the night with them but then it started raining. I want to show them that I am in Tripoli, not in Venezuela. Don't believe those dogs in the media," he added.
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Meanwhile, anti-government protesters came under a brutal crackdown in capital Tripoli where violence has claimed scores of lives
Al Jazeera said at least 61 people were killed on Tuesday in what some witnesses described as a 'massacre' at a huge anti-government rally.
A growing number of four-decade-old Gaddafi regime figures have defected, as the government crackdown on the protesters intensified with state TV reporting that Libyan security forces launching operation against what it called 'dens of terrorists'.
Libya's ambassador in Washington, Ali Adjali, told BBC World that the reports of firing from warplanes spurred his decision not to support the government any more.
"To me it is a very sad moment seeing Libyans killing other Libyans," he said. "I'm not supporting the government killing its people. I am (not) resigning Moammar Gadhafi's government, but I am with the people. I am representing the people in the street, the people who've been killed, the people who've been destroyed. Their life is in danger."
There were also reports that some military aircraft fired at the protesters in Tripoli.
All landless and wireless communications in the oil-rich north African country are also reported to have been cut.
Anti-government protesters took to the streets of Tripoli, in a revolt that started from Benghazi, where Gaddafi's grip has traditionally been weaker.
Al Jazeera reported that tribal leaders too spoke out against Gaddafi, while some army units defected to opposition. Protesters appeared to be largely in control in the coastal city of Benghazi, where government buildings were set ablaze after security forces were forced to retreat.
International concern at the crackdown on the unprecedented unrest rocking Libya is growing as events unfold.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the world was 'watching the situation in Libya with alarm'.
"We join the international community in strongly condemning the violence in Libya. Now is the time to stop this unacceptable bloodshed," she said in a written statement.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon said he was 'outraged' by reports that Libyan security forces had fired on demonstrators from fighter jets and helicopters.
Saying Ban wanted Gaddafi to "immediately" halt violence, Martin Nesirky said: "Such attacks against civilians, if confirmed, would constitute a serious violation of international humanitarian law and would be condemned by the secretary-general in the strongest terms."