Libya’s anti-government forces have seized power of the town of Zawiyah, 50 kilometres from Tripoli, after heavy fighting.

The red, green and black flag of Libya’s anti-Qaddafi rebellion was flying from a building in the centre of the town in front of a crowd of several hundred people, Reuters news agency reports.

Ironically, the Libyan government had organised for its minders to take a few journalists to the town as a show of its control.

The town joins a string of Libyan cities that have been taken by the protesters, beginning with Benghazi, the country’s second-largest city. Benghazi is now emerging as the alternative to government rule in Tripoli, which remains in the hands of Qaddafi.

The United Nations Security Council last night voted unanimously to impose sanctions on the Libyan government, imposing an arms embargo and asset freeze. Qaddafi has also been referred to the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity.