Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister "vigorously' condemned all use of force against innocent protesters in Libya and said the international community will eventually have a discussion about what should be done when governments turn on their own people.
But, Lawrence Cannon told reporters Tuesday, the Canadian government is now concentrating on getting its citizens out of the violence that has enveloped the North African country that's been ruled for four decades by Colonel Moammar Gadhafi.
Mr. Cannon announced that Canada is trying to negotiate the landing rights to permit an evacuation flight to lift Canadians from Libya to Europe on Thursday. It is also working very closely with like-minded countries including France, the United Sates, Britain, Australia and New Zealand to secure seats on outgoing flights for their citizens, he said.
So far, 91 of the 331 Canadians who have informed the government that they are in Libya have indicated their desire to leave, Mr. Cannon said.
Others who want consular assistance or who want to get out of the country are urged to call the Canadian embassy in Tripoli at 218-21335-1633 or the emergency centre at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa at 613-996-8885.
The minister's remarks followed a defiant speech by Col. Gadhafi in which he promised to fight his opponents "to the last drop of blood" and urged his supporters to attack protesters in their homes.
"It's outrageous to see a country using military force or might as it has against its own citizens that are protesting, that are seeking better ways and reforms," Mr. Cannon said, noting Canada has initiated a discussion about the situation at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
When asked if it was time for some stronger intervention by the international community than mere condemnation, he said different options will have to be explored. "We will certainly be part of that discussion."
There was no mistaking the anger in the voices a few blocks away, however, where protesters gathered on a downtown street outside the Libyan embassy.
Abdulrahman Abututa, the Libyan Ambassador to Canada, is in Tripoli on sick leave but the protest in Ottawa went on without him. Some of those who took part said they hoped those who remained behind would follow the lead of their counterparts in some other countries and denounce Col. Gadhafi.
Mostly young men, some of them took part in a similar demonstration on Monday and say they will be back again Thursday to express their fury and frustration with the Libyan strongman.
"Gadhafi is killing people," said Amal, one of the protest organizers who did not want to give her last name for fear of reprisals against her family who are still in Libya. "It's really murder. It's really sad. It's unbelievable."
In response to Mr. Gadhafi's threats to respond to the uprising with violence, the roughly 80 members of the Libyan community who took part in the Ottawa protest shouted chants of "Libya, Libya, don't you cry, liberty will never die."
They eventually marched three blocks down the street to the Parliament buildings where they hoped to attract the attention of politicians.
One man taking part in the protest carried a sign that read: "Tunisia first, Egypt second, Libya third."
But the protesters said they feared their fight will be more difficult and more bloody than the two previous uprisings in the Arab world.
"Today we are here to support our brothers in Libya," said Hamza Ghazali who was handing out pamphlets to passers by.
"The government is bombing and killing our brothers," he said. "We need Canada and the U.S. and all the world to wake up because a lot of people are dying every day."
Mr. Ghazali said he has been trying to reach his family in Libya for two days without success.
"Imagine if you can't reach your brothers or your family of ever your friends," he said. "I don't know if they are alive or dying or dead but I know they need my help."