The United Nations will hold a meeting to discuss the situation in Libya. At least two human rights groups have called on the U.N. and President Obama to revoke Libya's membership from the U.N. Human Rights Council.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon described the violence against civilians "unacceptable," and as a "serious violation of international law" and said Monday he told stop Gadhafi to stop using military planes and helicopters against the demonstrators.
The U.S. State Department on Monday ordered non-essential employees and their relatives out of Libya. There about 35 U.S. Embassy employees and family members in Libya now and approximately 200 "unofficial American citizens" who have contacted the embassy in Tripoli for assistance. Other countries such as Italy and Portugal are sending either ships or aircraft to evacuate their citizens.
After almost 42 years, Gadhafi is the longest-serving leader in Africa and the Arab world.
Gadhafi seized control of the country in a coup in 1969 when he was just 27-years-old. He became an advocate of Arab and African unity, and has openly declared his vision for a "United States of Africa."
In U.S. diplomatic cables recently released by WikiLeaks, Gadhafi is described as a "mercurial and eccentric figure who suffers from severe phobias, enjoys flamenco dancing and horseracing, acts on whims and irritates friends and enemies alike."
Among his other eccentric behaviors, the Libyan leader reportedly fears flying over water, doesn't like staying on upper floors, travels with a slew of female bodyguards and reportedly will not travel without a curvaceous Ukrainian nurse.
President Ronald Reagan once called him, "this mad dog of the Middle East."
He famously earned the ire of Donald Trump when he decided to erect a tent in the New York suburb of Bedford in 2009, when he visited the United States to attend a U.N. meeting. Once inside the U.N., he controversially blamed the swine flu virus on an unnamed foreign military, complained about having jet lag and even called Obama "my son," a reference that made many attendees laugh.
The longtime dictator has also clashed often with Western governments. He was accused of backing the 1986 bombing of a Berlin disco popular with American soldiers and the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
For years, Gadhafi refused to take responsibility for the bombing, but that changed in 2003 when he acknowledged his role and tried to make amends.
Experts say Gadhafi's unpredictable nature is one of the keys to his political longevity.
"Whereas other governments are sometimes unpredictable, the Libyan government is strategically unpredictable," said Jon Alterman director and senior fellow of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic International Studies.
ABC News' Susan Shin, Tom Nagorski, John Berman, Phoebe Natanson and Elicia Dover contributed to this report.