Extinction Rebellion activists painted the fountain outside Buckingham Palace red and have accused the Queen of having “blood on her hands”.

The group were protesting use of crown lands for hunting and animal agriculture. Extinction Rebellion also pointed out the Queen’s attempts to have her lands exempt from an initiative to cut carbon emissions.

Dora Hargitai, the co-founder of Animal Rebellion, commented: “[The protest was] to symbolise the blood on the Queen’s hands and the royal family’s crimes against animals and our planet.”

“We believe crown land should be used to grow healthy and nutritious food for all of us. We cannot resolve the climate crisis without resolving the animal crisis and food crisis at the same time, which are all interlinked.”

Gail Bradbrook, XR co-founder, said: “The key message of today is stopping the harm. When you’re in an existential crisis, when the life support systems of the earth are literally breaking down … the first thing you do is to stop the harm.”

“Unfortunately our government, and this department in particular, is actively involved in harming our planet.”

By mid-week, almost 200 people had been arrested at the demonstrations in London. The rallies are due to last two weeks and 10,000 people have taken part so far.