Boris Johnson is outlining plans to crack down on disruptive demonstrations after climate activists delayed the distribution of hundreds of thousands of copies of national newspapers yesterday.
The Prime Minister, who described the Extinction Rebellion (XR) action as a "totally unacceptable" attempt to restrict public access to a "vital" free press, is believed to have consulted colleagues, including Attorney General Robert Buckland. on drafting new public order laws in the wake of the unrest.
More than 70 arrests were made after dozens of activists chained themselves to the gates of Newsprinters in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire and blocked access to printing presses in Knowsley, near Liverpool, delaying the arrival of hundreds of thousands of newspapers, including the Daily Mail, at newsagents .
Boris Johnson outlines plans to crack down on disruptive demonstrations after climate activists delayed distribution of thousands of newspaper copies
Speaking to Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, Mr Johnson, to urge them to do more to defend the plants, said: "It is totally unacceptable to restrict public access to news in this way. "
The Prime Minister is considering tightening the law to impose stricter restrictions on mass gatherings, especially if doing so jeopardizes freedom of the press.
A source said: "Boris believes protecting a free press is a central tenet of democracy and the law should do more to uphold it."
More than 70 arrests were made after activists chained themselves to the gates of Newsprinters in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire and blocked access to printing presses in Knowsley, near Liverpool, delaying the arrival of thousands of newspapers, including the Mail, at newsagents
Mr Johnson's views were corroborated by his fiancée Carrie Symonds, who said: “I am a massive concern of climate change and biodiversity, but it is just wrong to prevent a free press from spreading this message.
"Not to mention all the small businesses that rely on being able to sell newspapers."
Union leader Sir Keir Starmer did not comment on the protests, but a party spokesman said he supported the view of his culture spokesman, Jo Stevens, who said: "A free press is vital to our democracy."
Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood backed legal action against XR, telling The Mail on Sunday, “Extinction Rebellion has lost sight of its root cause and ruthlessly pursues a divisive agenda aimed at causing disruption on a large scale.
By deliberately and apologetically restricting the freedom of the press, damaging news agents' revenues, and denying public access to newspapers, the organization has crossed a line that must be defended. I spoke to the Minister of Justice and asked him to review the legislation regarding illegal and disruptive protests. "
The bourgeois eco-rabble who wants to kill free speech: The actress leads Extinction Rebellion activists as they moan over her doomsday message on climate change. It doesn't get printed on the front pages of newspapers EVERY DAY … as they block access to national presses
By Max Aitchison, Jonathan Bucks and Peter Henn for Mail am Sonntag
They took drastic measures, they emphasized seriously, because their doomsday message on climate change was not printed on the front pages of newspapers every day.
That's true every day. That such a persistent demand was so incompatible with the freedom of expression they claim to value seemed to be lost to the Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists yesterday.
Blocking access to national presses and thus preventing the circulation of newspapers was not exactly the most democratic act either. It was an irony that the ragged army of mostly bourgeois protesters who besieged the presses at Broxbourne in Hertfordshire, Knowsley in Merseyside and Motherwell in North Lanarkshire failed to understand.
When not chained to bamboo frames blocking the street, the protesters delivered monotonous diatribes to reporters across their eyes. Typical of the activists was Gully Bujak, who was marched by police from the Broxbourne blockade just off the M25 after spreading on an inflatable mattress on a van.
A protester is taken away by the police outside the Newsprinters printing works in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, after demonstrations (Photo: September 5, 2020).
When not chained to bamboo frames blocking the street, the protesters delivered monotonous diatribes to reporters across their eyes
The 27-year-old's previous combat awards include being arrested at a protest last April after sitting in a pink boat blocking the center of Oxford Circus. On the occasion, she said the police were "courteous and considerate" but that this was only due to their "privileged position as a middle-class white woman."
Tired and sullen, the police seemed much less accommodating in the early hours of the morning. A senior official instructed his staff that two officers were required per arrest. "This is a public nuisance and these protesters are preventing four major national newspapers from being distributed tomorrow," he said.
When she was led away, Ms. Bujak, an "actress, model, and extra," raved about her "extraordinary" protesters as if they were cast on a hit West End show.
Then she got serious and intoned: “The climate emergency is an existential threat to humanity. Instead of getting this front-page news every day as it deserves, a lot of our media outlets are ignoring the issue and some are actively sowing seeds of climate denial. & # 39;
By midnight in Broxbourne, about 30 Hertfordshire police officers had closed the road about 300 meters from where the 60 or so protesters had blocked the road.
A steady stream of confused workers turned up at the print shop, many parked on the edge of the freeway because they could not enter the parking lot. A stunned manager was talking heatedly with officers at the cordon. But as the night went on, hundreds more officers arrived on site. At 1am the quiet corner of Hertfordshire was a sea of flashing lights and police officers from five different forces and more than 50 vehicles.
A handful of Extinction Rebellion loyalists stood in front of the cordon, filmed the scene and coordinated with protesters blocking the road (Image: A protester is led away by police outside the Newsprinters print shop in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, after demonstrations on September 5, 2020) .
Typical of the activists was Gully Bujak, who was marched by the police from the Broxbourne blockade directly on the M25 after he had spread out on an inflatable mattress on a van (Photo: A protester is heard by the police in front of the Newsprinters printing works in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, led away demonstrations, 5 September 2020)
A handful of Extinction Rebellion loyalists stood in front of the cordon and filmed the scene and coordinated with protesters blocking the street. At 2.30 a.m., around 30 officers dressed in black gathered in the nondescript industrial park and apparently discussed tactics.
An XR member who was filming the scene pointed to the police and muttered, "Let's go," before they stopped filming and chasing away. The guests of the neighboring Travelodge, clearly awakened by the incessant sirens, stuck their heads out of the windows.
Four black vans were let through the cordon and parked as protesters began chanting the Stars Wars movie tune that marks Darth Vader's entrance.
They waved dozens of black boxes with drills and chainsaws, which they then used to cut the locks and chains the demonstrators had used. Enormous floodlights were used.
Sparks flew for several hours and the sound of chainsaws was on against the backdrop of XR's music and chants of & # 39; Extinction Rebellion & # 39; to listen. By 5:30 a.m., officials had arrested eight demonstrators – each arrest was greeted with cheers by other demonstrators.
The group had sent out instructions for "rebels" at home, including visiting local newsagents and "explaining to potential newspaper buyers why their newspaper was not on the shelves." XR's ambition to target print shops was announced by the Mail on Sunday in December. A plan called "The Great March for Truth and Blockade" was presented to XR's "Action Circle" earlier this month. In the proposal, the Broxbourne site was classified as "very susceptible to a mass blockade".
The pink boat that climate change activists used as the focal point of their camp when they occupied the intersection at Oxford Circus in central London on April 19, 2019
One of the report's co-authors, Donnachadh McCarthy, a career activist, was at the blockade yesterday. He said he attended because the government "took sides against Britain's enemies" adding, "We believe the media and the government have been silent about climate change. We have faced the coronavirus crisis, however instead of using them to create a new, green economy, the government has given quantitative easing and Covid loans to people like the aviation industry, ”he said.
Mr McCarthy, a green energy advisor, has been arrested repeatedly during protests in recent years. In 2014 he was part of the Occupy Democracy protest in Parliament Square and was arrested for allegedly refusing to give his name and for having a tarpaulin that could be used to sleep, which he denied. Last year he was one of more than 3,000 XR protesters arrested by the Met.
Other protesters in Broxbourne were Matthew Hammond, 51, a math teacher who once declared on an XR march in his hometown: “We are walking up and down as if they were the walls of Jericho to be broken apart, to allow change and new world in. & # 39; He posted a long poem yesterday about his experience.
Another activist, Tim Speers, was arrested last year while filming himself spraying the slogan "Animal Emergency = Crimes Against Humanity" in London's Old Bailey.
Critical tweets for the action included one from Jeremy Clarkson who said, “Dear XR folks. They were hacked by a group of sixth grade protocommunists. Lose them or lose ALL of your support. & # 39;
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson said a free press was "critical" to holding the government accountable and "it is totally unacceptable to restrict public access to news in this way". Last night, police confirmed that they had arrested 80 people at all three locations.
HOLLY BANCROFT: Extinction Rebellion extremists can't deal with anyone who isn't as hysterical as they are
By Holly Bancroft for the Sunday Mail
When I was undercover as a new recruit for Extinction Rebellion last April, I was faced with a crowd of big-eyed idealists, mostly middle-class, who wanted to forge a better world.
Now, with their hold on or stick to the ground tactics irritatingly familiar to many tired city dwellers, their ranks have drawn a group of seasoned activists committed to the XR cause.
As their recent attempt to silence the newspaper press – a major engine of democracy – shows on Friday night, their tactics have become even more sinister and there is a risk that a previously peaceful campaign will be ruined.
Rupert Read, a leader of the Extinction Rebellion, underlined the new threat and warned last week that "parasitic" radical left groups would try to use climate protests for other political purposes.
The scientist said political groups, including the Socialist Workers Party and the Young Communist League, wanted to promote their own goals through XR. The organization's new form of nonviolent civil disobedience has become so effective that even the city police have admitted that it goes beyond anything we've seen before.
Sparks flew for several hours and the sound of chainsaws was on against the backdrop of XR's music and chants of & # 39; Extinction Rebellion & # 39; to listen.
Most of the time with XR was bizarre. I was encouraged to label alcohol "suppressive juice" while a rebel during an arrest exercise was concerned about whether there would be vegan food in prison.
While millions of school children were without classes, XR activists managed to set up an online academy to train members. It is clear that they have been on an ideological journey in the past 18 months and are starting to split.
One branch, XR Catalysts, seeks "to identify the dominant centers of power in British society, to familiarize itself with the main" influencers "within them and to maintain a dialogue with them".
The group has always done a lot of its decentralized structure, meaning anyone who wants to set up a local XR action group can do so – but this loose structure creates a problem when members disable the message. Co-founder Roger Hallam, 54, got into trouble comparing climate change to the Holocaust, and recently suggested that MPs whom he declares "guilty" of climate change should "have a bullet through the head."
He formed a fringe group called Beyond Politics in June in which he believed that "immediate, high-level direct action" is required "to overthrow this genocidal government."
He is currently on hunger strike after his arrest last month for plotting to cause criminal harm in front of the current demonstrations.
Even so, he's still a key member of the XR team, which recently complained that it "went in the middle".
To correct this, Hallam, a former organic farmer, suggested, "We have to be super-super-radical to maximize the likelihood of maintaining a semi-organized society for the next 30 to 50 years."
As new recruits, we were asked at an early stage how far we were ready to join the movement and identify ourselves as “arrestable” or “non-arrestable” – a key indicator of our commitment.
For XR co-founder Roger Hallam, those with skin in the game – careers, families, or other ties – will never be free to offer the level of unwavering commitment to the cause they desire.
And therein lies the problem. There are aspects of Extinction Rebellion's goals that are laudable, but the troubling problem is the unwavering adherence of its hardcore activists. It's a case of whole blood hysteria or nothing.
Not only will you not tolerate discussion, you will not listen to dissenting opinions.
"Hold On": Priti Patel Orders Police To Protect Print Shops After Extinction Rebellion extremists sabotaged newspaper distribution
ByGlen Owen and Jake Ryan for the Sunday Post
Ms. Patel said: "This attack on the entire free press has hit many workers."
Interior Minister Priti Patel yesterday evening ordered the police to guard newspaper printing plants to prevent a repeat of the environmental activists who were caused on Friday evening – and urged the officials to "detain".
Ms. Patel, who described the protests of the Extinction Rebellion (XR) group against climate change as an "attack on democracy", called on the armed forces to be present at all pressure points.
It came after XR yesterday delayed the distribution of hundreds of thousands of copies of national newspapers, including the Daily Mail, to stores by blocking access to printing presses in Broxbourne in Hertfordshire and Knowsley in Merseyside.
A Home Office source said: “Priti was angry. She told police to "get stuck" to stop the disturbance for a second night. "
On Friday evening, more than 100 protesters used vehicles and bamboo structures to block roads outside the plants to highlight that the media had not covered the climate and the ecological emergency. The presses print the Daily Mail and Sunday Mail, the London Evening Standard, the Sun, Times, Sun am Sonntag and the Sunday Times, as well as the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph.
Yesterday, Hertfordshire Police said 50 were arrested at the Broxbourne demonstration, while another 30 were arrested in Merseyside.
Home Secretary Priti Patel ordered the police last night to guard newspaper printing plants to prevent a repeat of the environmental activists caused on Friday evening – and called on the officials to "detain" (Image: Extinction Rebellion activists block access to newspaper printers) facility in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, September 4, 2020)
Ms. Patel, who described the protests of the Extinction Rebellion (XR) group against climate change as an "attack on democracy", called on the armed forces to be present at all pressure points
It came after XR yesterday delayed the distribution of hundreds of thousands of copies of national newspapers, including the Daily Mail, to stores by blocking access to printing presses in Broxbourne in Hertfordshire and Knowsley in Merseyside
City police said last night they fined 20 Extinction Rebellion protesters a total of £ 200,000 for organizing illegal gatherings of more than 30 people in violation of social distancing rules. Officials handed out the £ 10,000 fines in a series of protests to organizers wearing pink tabards, including those who arranged the procession of a 20-foot model boat named after activist Greta Thunberg, who lived on the outskirts of London stopped.
Ms. Patel said: “This attack on the whole of the free press affected many workers who did their jobs. Print workers, deliverers, wholesalers and newsagents faced delays and financial penalties overnight. This is a matter for the police and the Interior Ministry. & # 39;
The Federation of Independent Retailers said the protest left small businesses with "disgruntled customers" who are dealing with and affecting home delivery services.
Stuart Reddish, the panel's national president, said, “It means we cannot get newspapers to our elderly and vulnerable customers.
"Newsagents played a critical role in getting newspapers into the hands of readers during Covid-19, and that doesn't help at a time when every sale counts."
Industry insiders told the Guardian that other newspaper publishers were quick to help build capacity on their presses to limit disruption to sales. Local newspapers printed at the Broxbourne site were also affected, including East Anglian titles produced by Archant.
Under a banner that read "Free the Truth," XR tweeted that it had used the disruption to expose "the newspapers'" failure to cover the climate and environmental emergency, "adding," We will filter out the lies and take back power. " for a night. & # 39;
XR's Alanna Byrne said: "We will only address the climate and environmental emergency by breaking the traditional impasse of opposition politics and coming together despite our differences."
The Executive Director of the Society of Editors, Ian Murray, called the protest "stupid and anti-democratic" adding, "The irony of protesters wanting to hear their voices and hear their message stopped trying to silence others by preventing the circulation of newspapers would be ridiculous if it weren't so serious.
“One has to wonder whether those who plan and take part in these stupid actions understand anything from history. Control or shutdown of freedom of expression and independent media is the first act of totalitarian regimes and dictators. "
A source from Sun and Times publisher News UK defended the company's stance on the climate, saying that Sun contained an article by David Attenborough on Saturday about tackling the climate crisis.
The company was also in the process of scrapping all single-use plastic that was used to package its titles.
Although union leader Sir Keir Starmer made no comment yesterday, Shadow International Trade Secretary Emily Thornberry said the protest was "very worrying" amid fears that older people might miss newspaper deliveries.
Outside Buckingham Palace, other members of XR held a two-hour "dance" to encourage the royal family to intervene on climate change issues.
The Labor MP is outraged after praising the "excellent work" done by the Extinction Rebellion extremists in delaying the circulation of national newspapers
Posted by James Heale for the Sunday Mail
Labor MP Dawn Butler was outraged yesterday after praising the eco-rebels who blocked the newspaper printing plants.
The former frontbencher supported Extinction Rebellion on social media for “an excellent job” after protesters blocked streets near the works and stopped delivering national newspapers.
She added: & # 39; Bravo #Extinction Rebellion & # 39; and accompanied the message with several clapping emojis. The post was deleted just a few hours later. Ms. Butler, who was sacked as Shadow Equality Minister after Sir Keir Starmer was elected Labor leader in April, has faced angry backlash online for her comments.
Labor MP Dawn Butler was outraged yesterday after praising the eco-rebels who blocked the newspaper printing plants
Good Morning British host Piers Morgan described Ms. Butler's message as "shameful" and criticized "a senior British politician who celebrates the suppression of freedom of speech". Premierminister Boris Johnson und Innenminister Priti Patel sagten, der Angriff auf eine freie Presse sei "völlig inakzeptabel".
Gestern haben sich die Labour-Frontbencher schnell von Frau Butler distanziert.
Jo Stephens, Schattenstaatssekretär für digitale Kultur, Medien und Sport, sagte: „Die Menschen haben das Recht, die gewünschten Zeitungen zu lesen. It is wrong to prevent them from being distributed and printers from doing their job. & # 39;
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