At least five people have been arrested at climate change protests that are causing disruption across England.

Extinction Rebellion organised national action in London and Manchester to urge the government to prepare for a “climate crisis”.

Campaigners were arrested after they sat in the middle of the road next to Parliament Square to stop traffic.

In Manchester, protesters have been urged to “reconsider their actions” following a rise in Covid-19 cases.

Arrests as Extinction Rebellion protests begin across England
The Met said the protests could result in “serious disruption” to businesses and commuters

Extinction Rebellion said it planned to “peacefully disrupt the UK Parliament in London” with 10 days of demonstrations until MPs backed the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill.

Other planned events in the capital include a “carnival of corruption”, which is due to take place outside the Treasury, and a “walk of shame” near the Bank of England.

The Metropolitan Police said Tuesday’s gathering could only take place off the main roads at Parliament Square Gardens between 08:00 BST and 19:00.

Boats, vehicles, trailers or other structures were banned from the procession.

Arrests as Extinction Rebellion protests begin across England
Protesters gathered in Westminster to urge the government to prepare for a “climate crisis”

Met Commander Jane Connors said: “The reason we have implemented these conditions is that we know these protests may result in serious disruption to local businesses, commuters and our communities and residents, which I will not tolerate.”

Last year, more than 1,700 arrests were made during Extinction Rebellion’s 10-day Autumn Uprising.

Arrests as Extinction Rebellion protests begin across England
Protesters gathered outside Manchester Central Library at 10:00

In Manchester, a march is planned through the city from 15:00 and Oxford Street has been closed as part of five days of action.

City council deputy leader Nigel Murphy said planned demonstrations “cannot adhere” to social distancing rules.

The city has increased restrictions due to a recent rise in Covid-19 cases.

Mr Murphy said while the council respected “the right to peaceful protest” this should “not be at the expense of local people”.

He said: “We are in the midst of a global public health crisis and we would ask demonstrators to seriously reconsider their actions at the current time.

Arrests as Extinction Rebellion protests begin across England
A Titanic-themed demonstration was held in Southend-on-Sea

“Manchester is currently under increased restrictions to limit the spread of the virus because the number of cases has been rising. Gatherings larger than six should only take place if everyone is exclusively from two households or support bubbles.”

He said the city had one of the “most ambitious carbon targets in the UK” and was “working to become zero carbon by 2038”.

A Titanic-themed demonstration was also held in in Southend-on-Sea where protesters said much of Essex would be underwater by 2050

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