Dozens of protestors have blocked one of the main bridges over the River Aire in Leeds city centre as part of national day of action to highlight the issue of climate change.

Activists from the Extinction Rebellion group installed a yellow boat on Leeds Bridge, near the Bridgewater Place skyscraper, painted with the words 'Planet before profit'.

Police are directing traffic around the demonstration.

Members of Extinction Rebellion say today's action – which is taking place in London, Bristol, Cardiff and Glasgow as well as Leeds – is a response to "the threat of climate breakdown and ecological collapse".

They say they want the government to take immediate action to stop the loss of biodiversity and cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.

Alex Evans, 43, of Extinction Rebellion Leeds, said: “As a parent with young children, I’m deeply scared about the kind of future our kids will inherit.

"It feels like we’ve had decades of everyone waiting for someone else to do something about climate change – now we’re out of time and can all see the signs of climate breakdown all around us.

"I’m involved in Extinction Rebellion because I want government, big banks and businesses to recognise that this is an emergency and act now.”

West Yorkshire Police say they will allow lawful protests but have warned businesses in the city centre that they may face disruption.