WEST Midlands member of the European Parliament Ellie Chowns was arrested last night while taking part in climate change protests in London.

The Herefordshire councillor said she was with other Green Party MEPs trying to prevent the police from clearing a legitimate public protest from Trafalgar Square.

The Metropolitan Police issued a statement at 9pm saying demonstrators could be arrested but councillor Chowns said no justification had been given.

She explained the situation through a video on Twitter.

“I’m here in Trafalgar Square in London standing in solidarity with Extinction Rebellion protesters who have so bravely occupied spaces in our capital city for the past week or more to draw attention to the climate crisis,” she said.

“We were given notice just a short time ago that this square is no longer allowable for peaceful democratic protests. The rules have been changed. No longer is any space in London allowable for peaceful democratic protest.

“This is intolerable. There has been no justification given. This is a climate emergency.”

She took to Twitter this morning to say she was arrested while defending the right to peaceful public protest.

“That right is central to a functioning democracy.

“Yesterday, public protest was banned throughout our capital city.

“This is a completely unjustified and disproportionate measure.”

Fellow West Midlands region MEP Phil Bennion said he was shocked to hear of the arrest.

"This is an over-reaction and smacks of authoritarianism," the Liberal Democrat said.

"I support the Extinction Rebellion's objective of rapid government action to reduce climate-affecting emissions to sustainable levels.

"While I might not agree with all of their tactics, we live in a democracy where the right to protest peacefully is fundamental.

"Arresting Members of Parliament is not to be taken lightly. I suspect that the Met has been coming under pressure from Home Secretary Priti Patel.

"While the police have to deal with obstruction or undue disruption, banning all ER protests across the whole of London is a draconian measure which I believe would not be upheld by the courts.

"It is particularly ridiculous as on Saturday a million people will march past Trafalgar Square against Brexit. Are people with Extinction Rebellion placards going to be arrested while those carrying EU flags are waved on?

"The Mayor of London and senior officers should talk to XR leaders to establish the limits of peaceful protest and a proportionate response to acts of obstruction. ER should be able to make their point in an obvious way in our capital city, especially in Trafalgar Square."

The arrest occurred after the terms of a Section 14 order under the Public Order Act were widened to stop Extinction Rebellion protests in London.