Prime Minister Stephen Harper has denounced the violent crackdowns by security forces on anti-government protesters in Libya and called for them to stop immediately.

"We find the actions of the government firing upon its own citizens to be outrageous and unacceptable," Harper told reporters in Vancouver on Monday. "We call on the government to cease these actions immediately."

Canadian contacts:

Friends and relatives in Canada seeking information on Canadian citizens believed to be affected by the unrest in Libya should contact the Emergency Operations Centre at Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada by calling, toll-free, 1-800-387-3124, or sending an email to sos@international.gc.ca.

Canadian citizens in Libya requiring emergency consular assistance should contact the Canadian Embassy in Tripoli at 218 (21) 335-1633, or call Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canadas Emergency Operations Centre collect at 613-996-8885. An email can also be sent to sos@international.gc.ca.

Earlier Monday, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon joined the United States and many European countries in urging citizens to avoid non-essential travel to that country.

Speaking Monday in Wakefield, Que., Cannon advised Canadians currently in Libya to avoid all gatherings and demonstrations and to stay away from places where they may occur "because they may turn violent without warning."

Clashes between protesters and security forces in Libya, calling for the ouster of longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi, have led to at least 200 deaths.

Demonstrations are taking place, particularly in the eastern part of the country, including the cities of Benghazi, Derna, Baida and Tobruk, and clashes between protesters and security forces spread Sunday night to the capital, Tripoli.

Cannon also "strongly condemned the violent crackdowns on innocent protesters."

He called on the Libyan security forces "to respect the human rights of demonstrators and uphold their commitment to freedom of speech and the right to assembly."

In Canada, rallies were held on Sunday in support of the anti-government protesters in Libya and calling for Gadhafi's ouster.

About 350 people gathered in Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square, while 200 people rallied in Edmonton's Churchill Square.