Libyan leader, Col Muammar Gaddafi, has threatened to arm his supporters by opening weapons depots, on the tenth day of a revolt which is thought to have resulted in 1000 deaths.
Foreign workers have been evacuated by air, by sea and overland, from the war-torn Libya, but some remain trapped.
Shots have reportedly been fired at demonstrators marching through the streets of Tripoli.
Colonel Gaddafi made an appearance in Tripoli’s Green Square pledging to arm civilian supporters and calling on Libyans to get ready to fight for “dignity” and for “petrol”.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that the ongoing attacks could amount to “crimes against humanity”.
The UN Security Council have proposed a number of sanctions including a total arms embargo, freezing of assets and travel bans on government figures.
Meanwhile British diplomats said they were hopeful that “the usual UN timetable would not prevail”.
Michele Alliot-Marie, the French foreign minister, re-iterated the urgency of the situation: “We can’t make do with speeches any more, we need to act.”
China and Russia have not stood in the way of any potential action.
Having reached a consensus on the need for sanctions on Gaddafi and follower, European governments have instructed officials to announce detailed measures early next week.