NICOLA Sturgeon has backed schoolchildren taking part in a climate strike in Edinburgh next week, after reports they could face arrest for marching in Princes Street.

It followed Green MSP Andy Wightman raising concerns about young people being warned they could be locked up if they protested on the key bus and tram route.

At FMQs, he said that would be “nonsense” and asked if Ms Sturgeon agreed no young person should be locked up for exercising their right to peaceful protest.

Ms Sturgeon said it would be inappropriate to comment on council restrictions and policing.

But she went on: “I think it’s very positive, very heartening, very uplifting to see the younger generation feel so passionately about climate change that they are prepared to protest and make their views known.

“I hope that all of us will listen to that and take account of what the young generation is telling us.

“I wish those who are taking part in the protest next Friday the very best.”

Mr Wightman said the suggestion of arrests appeared to be council scaremongering.

He said: “I will be joining climate strikers next Friday and absolutely defend their right to be heard on the climate emergency. Our young people are drawing attention to the overwhelming scientific evidence that says we have a decade to make significant changes to our economies to keep global warming down.

“The First Minister wants to set some ambitious emissions targets, but she must also match the ambition of our Scottish Green New Deal which commits to real action to meet them. She is right to say politicians must listen to the school strikers, and I hope she will hear what they are saying.”