Extinction Rebellion protests end with arrest over Churchill statue graffiti

Ten days of Extinction Rebellion demonstrations in London ended with naked protests and an arrest over graffiti daubed on a statue of Sir Winston Churchill.

At least 648 people have been arrested during the environmental action, including one man on Thursday on suspicion of causing criminal damage to the statue of the former prime minister in Parliament Square.

Yellow graffiti was daubed on its plinth, including the words "is a racist".

London mayor Sadiq Khan said: "This appalling vandalism is completely unacceptable. It will be fully investigated and the statue will be cleaned as quickly as possible."

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Topless Extinction Rebellion protesters expose ‘bare truth’ in Parliament stunt
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Topless Extinction Rebellion protesters expose ‘bare truth’ in Parliament stunt
Police detain one of the climate activists who locked themselves against the railing of the Houses of Parliament, during an Extinction Rebellion (XR) protest, in London, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
A police stands near a climate activist who locked herself topless against the railings of the Houses of Parliament, during an Extinction Rebellion (XR) protest, in London, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
NOTE NUDITY Police detain a topless Extinction Rebellion protester outside the Houses of Parliament, London, on the last day of demonstrations.
NOTE NUDITY A topless Extinction Rebellion protester outside the gates of the Houses of Parliament, London, on the last day of demonstrations.
NOTE NUDITY Police detain a topless Extinction Rebellion protester outside the Houses of Parliament, London, on the last day of demonstrations.
NOTE NUDITY Topless Extinction Rebellion protesters chained to the gates of the Houses of Parliament, London, on the last day of demonstrations.
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 10: (EDITORS NOTE: Image contains nudity) A group of topless women with body paint on their chests, who padlockled themselves to the gates of Parliament, hold a banner that reads "Cant Bare The Truth ?" as they protest at the consequences of a 4 degree global rise in temperature by 2100 on September 10, 2020 in London, England. Extinction Rebellion Activists are holding ten days of climate action across the UK. Their activities began on September 1st. (Photo by Chris Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Extinction Rebellion protesters in a police van outside the Houses of Parliament, London, on the last day of demonstrations.
An activist from the Extinction Rebellion climate change group shows a message written on her hand as she is taken away in a police van after being arrested for locking herself to railings outside UK's parliament in central London on September 10, 2020 on the final day of their new series of 'mass rebellions'. - Climate change protesters have put on 10 days of demonstrations, held across the country by activist group Extinction Rebellion. (Photo by Niklas HALLE'N / AFP) (Photo by NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty Images)
Police detain a topless Extinction Rebellion protester outside the Houses of Parliament, London, on the last day of demonstrations.
Topless activists from the Extinction Rebellion climate change group are monitored by police officers after locking themselves to the railings at a demonstration outside UK's parliament in central London on September 10, 2020 on the final day of their new series of 'mass rebellions'. - Climate change protesters have put on 10 days of demonstrations, held across the country by activist group Extinction Rebellion. (Photo by Niklas HALLE'N / AFP) (Photo by NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty Images)
SENSITIVE MATERIAL. THIS IMAGE MAY OFFEND OR DISTURB Police officers remove an Extinction Rebellion climate activist after they had attached themselves to the Houses of Parliament, during a protest in London, Britain, September 10, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Climate activists are seen padlocked to the railings of the Houses of Parliament during an Extinction Rebellion protest in London, Britain, September 10, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville
SENSITIVE MATERIAL. THIS IMAGE MAY OFFEND OR DISTURB Police officers remove an Extinction Rebellion climate activist after they had attached themselves to the Houses of Parliament, during a protest in London, Britain, September 10, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville
SENSITIVE MATERIAL. THIS IMAGE MAY OFFEND OR DISTURB Police officers remove an Extinction Rebellion climate activist after they had attached themselves to the Houses of Parliament, during a protest in London, Britain, September 10, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville
SENSITIVE MATERIAL. THIS IMAGE MAY OFFEND OR DISTURB Police officers remove an Extinction Rebellion climate activist after they had attached themselves to the Houses of Parliament, during a protest in London, Britain, September 10, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville
SENSITIVE MATERIAL. THIS IMAGE MAY OFFEND OR DISTURB Climate activists are seen padlocked to the railings of the Houses of Parliament during an Extinction Rebellion protest in London, Britain, September 10, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville
NOTE NUDITY Police detain a topless Extinction Rebellion protester outside the Houses of Parliament, London, on the last day of demonstrations.
NOTE NUDITY A topless Extinction Rebellion protester outside the gates of the Houses of Parliament, London, on the last day of demonstrations.
NOTE NUDITY A topless Extinction Rebellion protester holds a flare outside the Houses of Parliament, London, on the last day of demonstrations.
Thirty topless women supporters of Climate Change activists, Extinction Rebellion protest outside the UK parliament railings, on 10th September 2020, in London, England. Locked with D-locks around their necks, their banner reads Cant Bare the Truth? and wearing face masks branded with 4°C', the women were removed and arrested then loaded into police vans where they placed their hands on the windows with the same slogan. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
Thirty topless women supporters of Climate Change activists, Extinction Rebellion protest outside the UK parliament railings, on 10th September 2020, in London, England. Locked with D-locks around their necks, their banner reads Cant Bare the Truth? and wearing face masks branded with 4°C', the women were removed and arrested then loaded into police vans where they placed their hands on the windows with the same slogan. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
Thirty topless women supporters of Climate Change activists, Extinction Rebellion protest outside the UK parliament railings, on 10th September 2020, in London, England. Locked with D-locks around their necks, their banner reads Cant Bare the Truth? and wearing face masks branded with 4°C', the women were removed and arrested then loaded into police vans where they placed their hands on the windows with the same slogan. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
Thirty topless women supporters of Climate Change activists, Extinction Rebellion protest outside the UK parliament railings, on 10th September 2020, in London, England. Locked with D-locks around their necks, their banner reads Cant Bare the Truth? and wearing face masks branded with 4°C', the women were removed and arrested then loaded into police vans where they placed their hands on the windows with the same slogan. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
Thirty topless women supporters of Climate Change activists, Extinction Rebellion protest outside the UK parliament railings, on 10th September 2020, in London, England. Locked with D-locks around their necks, their banner reads Cant Bare the Truth? and wearing face masks branded with 4°C', the women were removed and arrested then loaded into police vans where they placed their hands on the windows with the same slogan. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
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The Metropolitan Police confirmed protesters had dispersed after 7pm, in line with conditions imposed on the event.

Earlier, 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 were arrested.

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

They were part of a larger group from the XR campaign, which have used attention-grabbing techniques to highlight their concerns about the threats facing 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 warming.

A banner read: "Can't bare the truth?"

Supporters cheered them on

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 vans as supporters cheered them on.

Although the XR protests have won some public support as they marched on cities across the UK in the past year, Home Secretary Priti Patel has described the activists as "so-called eco-crusaders turned criminals", and pledged to prevent "anarchy on our streets".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also criticised their "completely unacceptable" action in blocking the delivery of some of the UK's major newspapers earlier in the week.

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