Extinction Rebellion protestors charged as newspaper deliveries blocked in weekend chaos

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More than 100 members of the climate action group took part in bamboo lock-ons to block roads outside the Newsprinters’ works, at Broxbourne in Hertfordshire and Knowsley, near Liverpool, on Friday evening. This meant some newspaper shelves in shops were left empty on Saturday morning. Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp’s titles were targeted, including The Sun, The Times, The Sun On Sunday and The Sunday Times.

The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mail and Mail On Sunday were also affected.

Hertfordshire Police said 51 people have now been charged with obstruction of the highway following the protest outside Newsprinters Ltd print works in Waltham Cross.

The statement added two people have been remanded in custody to appear in court on Monday while 49 were released on conditional bail.

Merseyside Police said it had since charged 26 people, aged between 19 and 60, following a demonstration at the “News International premises” in Knowsley on Friday night.


They are due to appear at Liverpool and Knowsley Magistrates’ Court and St Helens Magistrates’ Court on January 8 and 13 next year.

Police said all 26 have been granted bail under the condition they do not enter Merseyside or contact any News International employees.

XR apologised to newsagents for the disruption.

But added it would not apologise to Mr Murdoch, calling on him to “stop suppressing the truth about the climate crisis and profiting from the division your papers create”.

Home Secretary Priti Patel now wants to take a “fresh look” at how XR is classified under law after a stunt Boris Johnson deemed “completely unacceptable”.

He said: “A free press is vital in holding the government and other powerful institutions to account on issues critical for the future of our country, including the fight against climate change.

“It is completely unacceptable to seek to limit the public’ access to news in this way.”

The review could lead to XR being treated as an organised crime group.

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This comes after the group cause disruption earlier in the year, by bringing cities across the UK to a standstill by forming human barriers along major roads and by disrupting public transport.

Under additional proposals, Parliament, courts and the press could be given special status in regard to the key role they play in democracy.

Police could be handed more powers to stop demonstrators entering designated areas outside such premises.

A Government source said: “It would be illegal to stop MPs going to vote or judges getting to court and it would also protect a free press.”

XR responded to criticism from Ms Patel that their actions were an “attack on our free press”.

XR said: “Our free press, society and democracy is under attack – from a failing government that lies to us consistently, is becoming increasingly authoritarian and is leading us towards four degrees of warming.”

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