Man arrested on suspicion of damaging Winston Churchill statue in Parliament Square

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A man has been arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage to a statue of Sir Winston Churchill in Parliament Square in central London during an Extinction Rebellion demonstration, the Metropolitan Police said.

The force said specialist officers in Parliament Square are also working to remove a road blockage put up by the group.

Officers have so far arrested 648 people while policing Extinction Rebellion protests in the city since the beginning of the month.

It comes as police arrested a group of semi-naked protesters who chained themselves to railings surrounding Parliament in a bid to expose what they called the “bare truth” about the climate crisis.

At least 13 topless women attached themselves to the outside of the Palace of Westminster with bike locks around their necks on Thursday.

They were part of a larger group from the Extinction Rebellion (XR) campaign, which have used attention-grabbing techniques to highlight the threat to the planet.

The women wore masks with “4C” written on them, and with words including drought, starvation and wildfires written on their chests to highlight the anticipated consequences of global heating.

To passing MPs, a banner read: “Can’t bare the truth?”

Sarah Mintram, a teacher who took part in the action, said: “Now we’ve got your attention. By neglecting to communicate the consequences of a 4C world – war, famine, drought, displacement – the Government are failing to protect us.”

Officers removed the D-locks from their necks and took the women to police stations in four separate vans as supporters cheered the protesters on from Parliament Square.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police also confirmed a man had been arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage to the statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square on Thursday evening.