Tripoli: Outraged Libyan protesters attacked the state broadcaster and set government buildings ablaze on Monday as the son of leader Muammar Gaddafi warned the country against civil war and "rivers of blood".

Condemning the revolt as a foreign plot, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi vaguely assured reforms, even as Human Rights Watch put the death toll at 233 since Thursday.

"Libya is at a crossroads. If we do not agree today on reforms... rivers of blood will run through Libya," he said in a fiery but rambling televised speech.

Gaddafi calls foreign media ‘dogs’

Meanwhile, the senior and famously mercurial 68-year-old Gaddafi, facing an unprecedented revolt against his 41-year rule, on Tuesday appeared on state television dismissing reports that he had fled the country, calling foreign news channels "dogs".

"I am in Tripoli and not in Venezuela. Do not believe these channels - they are dogs," he told Libyan TV, which said he was speaking outside his house.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, 38, who holds no formal government post but wields vast influence as his father's heir apparent, suggested that Benghazi was out of government control.

Within hours of the statement, protesters in the capital Tripoli attacked state broadcast offices and set branches of the People's Committees that are the mainstay of the regime ablaze overnight, witnesses said on Monday.

TV, radio headquarters ransacked

"The headquarters of Al-Jamahiriya Two television and Al-Shababia radio have been ransacked," one witness said by telephone on condition of anonymity.

Broadcasts on both channels were interrupted on Sunday evening but resumed on Monday morning.

A number of witnesses said protesters had torched public buildings in the capital overnight, including the Interior Ministry, People's Committee offices and also police stations.

"Protesters burned and ransacked the ministry of interior building," in central Tripoli, one witness said.

"Our neighbour was killed last night," added another Tripoli resident in the centre of the capital. "There is a lot of shooting outside. No one from our family has gone to work on Monday."

Several cities, including Libya's second most populous Benghazi, where the protest movement started, have fallen to demonstrators following the defection of some army units, the International Federation for Human Rights said on Monday.

(Agencies)