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Protesters carry a Libyan flag during a street protest in a square in Benghazi, Libya, February 23, 2011

A senior Libyan diplomat has resigned from his post as counselor at the country's embassy in Canada in protest at the violent crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

Ihab al-Mismari announced his resignation on Wednesday, saying his decision was due to the embassy's effort aimed at hiding and downplaying the brutal attacks against protesters in his homeland, AFP reported.

"They are killing the friends with whom I grew up; they are killing my brothers and sisters," al-Mismari said.

Libya's violent crackdown on peaceful protesters has been severely slammed by the African Union, the European Union, the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Conference and the US.

US President Barack Obama said in a televised speech on Wednesday that the bloodshed in Libya is "outrageous and unacceptable" and must stop.

The US and the EU are discussing sanctions on Libyan government in a bid to pressure long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi's regime to stop the use of force against civilians seeking greater civil liberties.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has also urged a "prompt and peaceful transition" in Libya, and said that tough sanctions must be imposed on Libyan government.

The world body has announced it may impose a no-fly zone over Libya due to the air strikes that have reportedly killed more than 1,000 protesters.

Government forces have lost control over several cities, especially in the eastern parts of the country as protesters are also closing in on the capital, Tripoli.