Extinction Rebellion protesters arrested after digging up lawn outside government offices

Seven members of Extinction Rebellion have been arrested after digging up a patch of grass outside government offices in central London.

The environmental group staged its latest protest on Thursday morning, shortly before 10am at Marsham Street in Westminster, where the Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government is based.

The group said on social media it was staging the protest in support of a Durham mining community which is rallying against expansion of a coal mine.

Members of the group, dressed in suits, used shovels to dig holes in the ground outside the offices.

They encouraged the communities minister, Robert Jenrick, to "reject approval" for the coal mine, adding "we are in a hole, stop digging" in a Tweet.

Members of Extinction Rebellion protest during the summer to demand action to stop climate change. Credit: PA

The Metropolitan Police said it has "no prior knowledge" of the demonstration, ahead of being called to the government offices at 09.56am on Thursday morning.

It said seven people were arrested, three females and four males, after they were found digging on the grass outside the building.

Officers detained them on the basis of causing criminal damage.

The force added the detainees have been taken "to a central London police station" where enquiries are ongoing.

During the spring and summer, Extinction Rebellion protesters caused several weeks of disruption as they protested about climate change.

Extra police officers were brought in to try and stop people from camping on bridges crossing the Thames in central London.