At least eight people have been arrested at protests in London demanding urgent action on the climate crisis organised by Extinction Rebellion (XR).

They follow 10 arrests that were made by the Metropolitan Police on Sunday (August 22), a day before the group's latest round of non-violent climate protests were billed to start.

The protests, which began en-masse on Monday (August 23) in central London, saw activists and supporters occupy several sites in central London including a busy road intersection in Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square.

XR said they were the start of two weeks of non-violent, direct actions they have planned to pressure the government to take urgent action on the increasingly severe climate crisis.

Images posted online and across social media channels showed a large pink structure in the form of a table unveiled at the Covent Garden interchange, with activists bearing XR symbols and chanting popular protest anthems sat atop it and around its base.

Seemingly hundreds of other protesters surrounded the table, sitting and standing in the street into Monday evening, while a large scores of police officers clad in fluorescent uniforms surrounded exits and entrances to the interchange.

As of 6pm, the Met Police said they had arrested eight people on Monday "for a variety of offences" without offering further detail.

A UK Supreme Court ruling earlier this year said that disruption should be tolerated to a certain degree when it is caused by people asserting their rights to free expression and peaceful assembly. 

XR said that the giant pink table they set up in the middle of Covent Garden would act as a staging point for a conversation on how we address the climate emergency, with a central demand to "immediately stop fossil fuel investment":

"As floods, fire and famine break out around the world, it is clear that climate breakdown is here now, and there is no choice left now but to take urgent action. Everyone deserves a seat at the table to have a say in how to tackle the greatest crisis of our times," a spokesperson said.

Linda Doyle, one of the people on top of the table, added: "Across the political spectrum people are expressing the need to change course, by upgrading democracy and our economy so that they are designed to protect life and work for us all. A recent global survey found that 74 per cent of people want the climate crises and protecting nature prioritised over jobs and profit. The majority of people want urgent action and understand we must make major changes to do so, by denying that government’s are working against the will of the people.

"If governments continue to fail us when climate breakdown is happening everywhere we look, ordinary people have to take matters into their own hands, rebel for life, and demand a new political economy designed to put the wellbeing of people and the planet first."