Muammar Gaddafi's increasingly desperate attempts to crush a revolt against his four-decade rule have killed as many as 1,000 people and split Libya, Italy's Foreign Minister said on Wednesday. As countries with strong business ties to Africa's third largest oil producer scrambled to evacuate their citizens, and fear of pro-Gaddafi gunmen emptied the streets of the capital Tripoli, France became the first state to call for sanctions. "I would like the suspension of economic, commercial and financial relations with Libya until further notice," President Nicolas Sarkozy said. But in the latest sign of international division over how to deal with Gaddafi, the prime minister of Qatar said he did not want to isolate Libya, where several senior officials have declared their backing for protests that began about a week ago. A senior aide to Gaddafi's influential son Saif was the latest to change sides. "I resigned from the Gaddafi Foundation on Sunday to express dismay against violence," Youssef Sawani, executive director of the foundation, said in a text message sent to Reuters. Gaddafi called for mass demonstrations by his supporters on Wednesday to try to cling to power. In the morning, only around 150 people gathered in Tripoli's central Green Square, carrying the Libyan flag and holding up Gaddafi's portrait.