via BBC News

President Barack Obama has denounced the violent crackdown by the Libyan authorities on peaceful protesters as “outrageous and unacceptable”.

Mr Obama said the world had to speak with “one voice”, and that the US was drawing up a range of options for action in consultation with its allies.

The Libyan government would be held accountable for its actions, he added.

His comments came as Muammar Gaddafi battled to keep control of western Libya, including the capital, Tripoli.

Opposition protesters – supported by many defecting government troops – have consolidated their control of the east of the country.

Residents of Tripoli have said they are too frightened to venture out, because of fears that pro-government forces will shoot them on sight.

Thousands of foreigners are meanwhile still trying to flee Libya through ports, airports, and the Tunisian and Egyptian borders.

The overall death toll has been impossible to determine. Human Rights Watch says it has confirmed nearly 300 deaths, but the International Federation for Human Rights says at least 700 people have been killed.

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