THE Scottish Parliament's debating chamber was put on lockdown after a group of climate change activists staged a sit-in. 

Extinction Rebellion Scotland said their action was a symbolic "citizens' assembly", aimed at sparking a "national conversation about the ecological crisis and climate breakdown". 

Around 40 campaigners took part in the stunt, which began after they erected a banner in the chamber declaring a climate emergency.

Dozens of police officers were immediately scrambled to the hallway outside the chamber following the security alert, with more stationed outside.

A Holyrood spokeswoman said: “Around 40 individuals on a free public tour refused to leave the chamber for approximately 60 minutes before leaving peacefully at 1.30pm. 

"The public tour route takes in the debating chamber when Parliament is not sitting. There was no impact on parliamentary business.”

Once inside, campaigners took part in a Burns reading, as well as singing and various speeches.

One said there had been "good action" in Scotland on climate change but much more was needed.

He said: "We're here to ask the Parliament to take much more serious action."

The activist added the group wants to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 to be able to fight "unsurvivable" climate change.

Police Scotland said there were no arrests in connection with the incident.

It followed a public demonstration outside the Scottish Parliament earlier on Friday.

In a statement, Robert Alcock of Extinction Rebellion insisted campaigners were not breaking the law. 

He said: "We are lawfully gathered in OUR Parliament, to draw attention to the climate emergency and to call for a Citizens' Assembly in the name of the land and people of Scotland.

“Direct action does not have to be illegal. Direct action means empowering yourself.

"It means acting according to your own conscience, no matter what the law and society may say, without asking permission from anyone.”

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: "Police in Edinburgh have been facilitating a lawful protest in the city centre on the morning and lunchtime of Friday January 25.

"Officers were then informed by Scottish Parliament that a number of protesters were within the Parliament building and officers are in attendance with the matter ongoing."