Shares in British banks were down on the FTSE 100 in morning trading as political unrest in Libya escalated over the weekend.

Following weeks of turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, which has seen the removal of the rulers of Tunisia and Egypt, Libyan protestors have become the main focus of the world's media.

The Libyan regime, headed by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, has cracked down with force on protesters. According to reports security forces have used sniper rifles and helicopter gunships on protestors, resulting in the death of 200-300 people.

By 10:25 shares in Lloyds Banking Group were down 1.75 per cent to 68.09 pence per share, RBS shares declined 2.82 per cent to 47.16 pence per share, Barclays shares dropped 2.09 per cent to 322.65 pence per share and HSBC shares fell 1.40 per cent to 712.70 pence per share.

Overall the FTSE 100 dropped 0.45 per cent to 6,055.58.