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Demands that XR hypocrites who blocked printers be fined £ 10,000


A woman accused of blocking the printing of several national newspapers in protest against the Extinction Rebellion is a British "jihadi" bride who refuses to run an all-female Islamic state unit in Syria.

After Natalie Bracht returned to the UK to live on a canal boat and apply for a universal loan, she reportedly joined the environmental extremists group after being arrested outside Newsprinters in Broxbourne on Friday.

She was silent when she video-linked from Stevenage Police Station to her trial in Luton Magistrates' Court.

The 45-year-old, who has been charged with obstruction of the motorway since Friday, was offered legal representation, which he refused, the court heard.

She sat with her arms around her knees and wore blue pants and a gray sweater. She smiled and decided not to answer any questions during the hearing.

Court officials asked her to confirm her name and other personal information, but she just didn't respond.

Natalie Bracht, 45, a British "jihadi" bride who denies running an all-female Islamic state unit in Syria, was accused of blocking printing of several national newspapers in a protest against the extinction rebellion on Friday

She spoke only in a German accent to give the judge her address in a squat on Heathrow Row in Sipson, west London. She said, "It's a crouch. There's a mailbox outside."

The clerk said, "You choose to remain silent today, so I assume you are the right person to face these charges."

Bracht is a two-time British and German citizen and is believed to have traveled to Syria in late 2014 before asking to return to the UK in October 2018.

She had last lived in Heidelberg, but when the coronavirus pandemic hit she was brought back, according to The Sunday People.

After visiting the British consulate in Düsseldorf, Bracht received a ticket for a British Airways flight to London on April 3.

When she arrived in the UK, she was interviewed for more than three hours by the Special Section under Appendix 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. Image: File picture of Natalie Bracht at King & # 39; s Cross Station, issued on November 18, 2008

When she arrived in the UK, she was interviewed for more than three hours by the Special Section under Appendix 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. Image: File picture of Natalie Bracht at King & # 39; s Cross Station, issued on November 18, 2008

Upon arrival in the UK, she was interviewed by the Appendix 7 Terrorism Act 2000 Special Unit for more than three hours.

The mother of nine told the newspaper, “They asked me where I was in Syria. I had to tell them a couple of times, "Guys, I wasn't in Syria."

Bracht also said she was asked for her thoughts on Brexit, elections and vaccines.

She said she was originally placed in a Travelodge for £ 44 a night before being pulled onto a barge, and claims she received help from the Helping Households Under Great Stress organization.

The Luton Magistrates' Court heard that Bracht had been offered the help of a lawyer but did not accept it.

Members of the Extinction Rebellion (XR) environmental campaign group are keeping the Broxbourne blockade in Hertfordshire up all night using vehicles and bamboo lock-ons to prevent the Sun, Times, Telegraph and Mail newspapers from reaching the newsstands

Members of the Extinction Rebellion (XR) environmental campaign group are keeping the Broxbourne blockade in Hertfordshire up all night using vehicles and bamboo lock-ons to prevent the Sun, Times, Telegraph and Mail newspapers from reaching the newsstands

Prosecutor Cassie Roberts requested bail for her on the condition that she is not within 100 meters of the Newsprinters Ltd property and does not enter Hertfordshire by September 13, subject to a few exceptions.

She was released on bail to appear with 50 other Extinction Rebellion protesters, some of whom will face the same highway obstruction charges.

You have been instructed to appear before St. Albans Magistrates' Court on November 27th.

Today calls are being made for the Extinction Rebellion protesters who blocked the newspaper printing facilities to be fined £ 10,000 for holding an "illegal gathering".

More than 100 protesters turned against newspaper printers in Broxbourne and Knowsley, near Liverpool, and blocked the Sun, Times, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph from leaving the depots.

And now Toby Young, Secretary General of the Union for Free Expression, has called on the police to punish the Extinction Rebellion protesters who were involved in blocking the printing works.

Extinction Rebellion protesters are blocking access to a print shop in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, and leaving the shelves of some newsagents empty Saturday morning

Extinction Rebellion protesters are blocking access to a print shop in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, and leaving the shelves of some newsagents empty Saturday morning

Young took to Twitter over the weekend and said, "It is incredible that the police are protesting £ 10,000 anti-lockdown protesters for the impudence to stand up for our freedoms but stand by while XR protesters against that Break law to stop distributing newspapers with opinions they disapprove of. & # 39;

On Saturday, following the blockade of Extinction Rebellion, the Society of Editors issued a statement from Executive Director Ian Murray condemning the blocking of the printing presses.

In the statement, Murray said, "The irony of protesters who want to hear their voices and hear their message when they try to silence others by preventing the circulation of newspapers would be ridiculous if it weren't so serious" commented Murray.

“One has to wonder if 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.

Toby Young, Secretary General of the Union for Freedom of Expression, has called on the police to fine the Extinction Rebellion protesters who were involved in blocking the print shop

Toby Young, Secretary General of the Union for Freedom of Expression, has called on the police to fine the Extinction Rebellion protesters who were involved in blocking the print shop

“Everyone has the right to protest peacefully and to be heard, after all, that's what a free press is about. But it is not acceptable for those who just want to hear their voices try to silence others.

& # 39; The UK media has provided a tremendous amount of coverage on the subject of climate change, examining the arguments from all angles. This attempt to blackmail the media into slavishly repeating claims by one side of the debate while ignoring criticism will fail, but shows a poor understanding of how the freedoms that allow organizations like Extinction Rebellion to protest be protected by the very free press they are attacking. & # 39;

Jeremy Corbyn's brother Piers was also involved in a demonstration that weekend when he appeared in Sheffield to address a crowd of anti-lockdown protesters.

This came just a week after he was fined £ 10,000 for organizing a rally in London.

It comes after the independent newspaper columnist who spearheaded the Extinction Rebellion blockade of printing works claims that the British media are worse than the Nazis.

Piers Corbyn, brother of former Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, speaks to anti-lockdown protesters in Sheffield on September 5th

Piers Corbyn, brother of former Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, speaks to anti-lockdown protesters in Sheffield on September 5th

61-year-old Donnachadh McCarthy has emerged as one of the leading figures in the group, justifying the attack on freedom of the press by saying, “It's like WWII and you (the newspapers) are on the other side. That's how we see it.

“It puts you on the side of the existential threat. It's a different existential threat, but a bigger one than the Nazis. & # 39;

In addition to his role as a columnist for the Independent, he has served as a former vice-chairman of the Liberal Democrats and has appeared on the BBC.

Mr McCarthy took part in the protests at the Broxbourne print shop on Friday evening and briefed journalists on site.

A total of 77 people were charged with malfunctioning at both printing sites, despite Mr McCarthy insisting that he was "not in an arrestable position".

Fifty-one people were charged after the Hertfordshire demonstration, which began around 10 p.m. on Friday and ended at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Natalie Brecht, 45, who did not provide an address, was taken into custody to appear in Hatfield Magistrates' Court today. 50 were released on bail to appear in St. Albans Magistrates' Court on November 27th.

The 61-year-old Donnachadh McCarthy took part in the protests in the Broxbourne print shop on Friday evening and informed journalists on site

61-year-old Donnachadh McCarthy took part in the protests at the Broxbourne printing plant on Friday evening and informed journalists on site

On Friday, XR activists erected platforms made of bamboo to block the road along with two delivery trucks and prevent the police from evacuating the premises.

Even though he was there, Mr. McCarthy insisted that he had nothing to do with the paper blockade.

However, last year he sketched a proposal entitled "The Great March for Truth and Blockade" and sent it to the so-called action group of XR.

In it he identified the Broxbourne site as "very susceptible to a mass blockade".

His comments were also slammed Tobias Ellwood, former army captain and chairman of the defense committee, told the Times, “It's a tasteless comparison. The use of such language shows their immaturity and shows that they should not be taken seriously.

"If there are reasonable voices in Extinction Rebellion, they should distance themselves from such inflammatory language."

Critics of the blockade called it an attack on the free press after XR prevented hundreds of newspapers from being delivered.

The interior minister has ordered a review of the law to tighten penalties for environmental extremists after they blocked newspaper printing facilities to suppress freedom of expression.

Options considered include expelling the group as an organized crime gang, which puts militants at risk of up to five years in prison.

Miss Patel wrote in the Daily Mail today that activists "should face the full force of the law" to "pursue guerrilla tactics … that seek to undermine and harm our society".

The 51 Extinction Rebellion activists were charged with blocking printing presses in Hertfordshire

  • Natalie Brecht, 45, who did not provide an address, was taken into custody to appear in Hatfield Magistrates' Court today.
  • Sally Davidson, 33 years old, from Byards Croft, London
  • Christopher Smith, 43, of Blagdon Road, New Malden
  • Will Farbrother, 39 years old, of Forest Road, Walthamstow
  • Sarah Ingram, 39, from Hervey Road, Kidbrooke, London
  • Steve Tooze, 56 years old, from Railton Road in London
  • Richard Felgate, age 28, of Forest Road, Walthamstow
  • Rosamund Frost, 29, from Wyatt Park Road in London
  • Joel Scott-Halkes, 28 years old, from Thistlewaite Road in London
  • Tim Jones, 37 years old, from Wyatt Park Road in London
  • Christine Kelly, 61 years old, from Coppetts Road in London
  • Gillian Fletcher, 58 years old, of Clifton Road, Wokingham
  • Luke Whiting, age 24, from Grove Road, London
  • Cleodie Rickard, 24 years old, from Roman Road in London
  • Lucy Porter, 45 years old, from Craig Hill Road in Bradford
  • Susan Hampton, 64 years old, of Lincoln Court, Berkhamsted
  • Liam Norton, 35 years old, from Esplanade Gardens, Scarborough
  • Eleanor Bujak, 27 years old, from Bracey Street in London
  • Laura Frandsen, 30 years old, from Waller Road in London
  • Emma Cooper, age 29, from Marriott Road in Smethwick
  • Casper Hughes, 49, of Commercial Road, Exeter
  • Tristain Strange, 38 years old, from Tennyson Street in Swindon
  • Elise Yarde, 32 years old, from Gainsford Road in London
  • Amir Jones, 39 years old, Fletcher Street, London
  • Mandy Leathers, 53, of Springfield Avenue in Bury St. Edmunds
  • Janna Goldstein, 26, from Essex Street in Birmingham
  • Gail Thomas, 51, of Broad Street in Stamford
  • Craig Scudder, 54 years old, from Cornwall Road, Harpenden
  • Rebeccah Plenderleith, 50 years old, of Peacocks Close, Berkhamsted
  • Bethany Mogie, 38, of Kingsbury Avenue in St. Albans
  • Alice Holmes, 37 years old, from Broad Street in Stamford
  • Graham Cox, 58 years old, from The Shrubbery, Hemel Hempstead
  • James Ozden, 34 years old, The Avenue, London
  • Thomas Lee Newman, 29 years old, of Swan Hill, Bradford
  • Nicola Stickall, 50 years old, from High Road, Needham, Norfolk
  • Edward Tombes, 59 years old, from Highbury New Park, Islington
  • Eleanor McAree, 26 years old, of Ongar Road, Brentwood
  • Ben Ramos Wheeler, 19 years old, from Cooks Road in Kennington
  • Samina Bunker, age 38, from Forest Road, Waltham Forest
  • Ryan Simmons, 34 years old, of Meliot Road, Lewisham
  • Charlotte Kirin, 51, of Peckham Street, Bury St. Edmunds
  • Morgan Trowland, 37 years old, from Massie Road in London
  • Timothy Spears, 35 years old, of Forest Road, Waltham Forest
  • Hazel Steson, 56 years old, of Ummars Road, Bury St. Edmonds
  • Gilbert Murrey, 62, from Hawthorne Avenue in Norwich
  • Mark Fletcher, 45, from Alexandra House, Norwich
  • Gabriela Ditton, 26 years old, from Silver Road, Norwich
  • Robert MacKenzie, 64, of Ipswich Road, Long Stratton, Norwich
  • Christopher Ford, 43, from Carlton Way, Cambridge
  • Jennifer Parkhouse, 68 years old, of Vale Green, Norwich
  • Michelle MacDonagh, 33 years old, of Hazel Way, Chipstead, Coulsdon, Surrey.

Gallery of Hypocrites: An independent newspaper columnist, tech boss, finance officer and former paratrooper … meet the ragged gang of eco-activists who tried to block free speech with protests from the printing company

One is a former paratrooper, the other a 22-year-old "birth striker" who swears she will never have children for the planet.

They were part of the ragged – and rather bourgeois – gang of printing rebels who tried to block free speech on Friday night.

Others included a failed would-be MP (who works for the Independent News website in particular) and a retired tax officer. All eight featured here marched on newspaper printers to assert their views and suppress all others.

The Extinction Rebellion protests resulted in a night of chaos and 81 arrests in Knowsley, Merseyside, and Broxbourne, Hertfordshire.

Almost 80 people were charged yesterday, but currently no longer than three months' imprisonment is available if convicted.

Student activist Katie Ritchie-Moulin was one of the ragged and more civic rebel groups that tried to block free speech by trying to prevent several major national newspapers from printing on Friday evenings

Student activist Katie Ritchie-Moulin was among the ragged and more civic rebel groups that tried to block free speech by trying to keep several major national newspapers from printing on Friday night

1. Katie Ritchie-Moulin, 21

The student, a veteran of direct climate protests, grew up in an affluent suburb of Birmingham.

Her psychological father, Lawrence Moulin, 63, has overseen mental health policies in the West Midlands, while her mother, Fiona Ritchie, 55, has a health and social care consultancy with experience managing multi-million pounds of budgets.

Miss Ritchie-Moulin was found outside Leeds Civic Hall in January with a bicycle lock around her neck and a sign that read "Airport expansion is ecocide!" Shown chained to railings. in an extinction rebellion "Die-In" against plans to expand Leeds-Bradford Airport.

At the time, Ms. Ritchie-Moulin, who is studying medicine at the University of Leeds, admitted feeling "very cold" and agreed that being chained to railings could be considered drastic. But she insisted that the airport expansion would be "pretty drastic" too.

No one was at home yesterday in the family's three-story red brick house in the affluent suburb of Moseley. She was charged with grossly breaking the Knowsley blockade.

2. Donnachadh McCarthy, 61

Former MP and independent columnist Donnachadh McCarthy

Former MP and independent columnist Donnachadh McCarthy

The deputy chairman of the Liberal Democrats from 2000 to 2003 appeared unsuccessfully in 2001 against Labor Harriet Harman as a MP in Peckham.

He took part in the Broxbourne protest as a "spokesman" for XR and is said not to have been among those arrested.

The Cork native told the Mail he works as an eco auditor helping companies get greener. He said, "We wanted people to wake up on Saturday morning and buy their newspaper and say, 'Why isn't it here? "They may be angry, but in a few weeks they may start paying heed to the warnings.

“We don't want to be arrested, most people are nice people. The police say they love to come to our protests because there is never any trouble. & # 39;

Mr McCarthy was arrested during the Occupy London protests in 2014. He claims his house in Camberwell is London's first carbon negative home with solar hot water and electricity, a wind turbine and a rain harvester.

In particular, he is a columnist for the Independent News website, where he writes on environmental issues and planning policy.

3. Lydia Dibben, 22

Student Lydia Dibben with a bicycle D-lock around her neck at an XR protest

Student Lydia Dibben with a bicycle D-lock around her neck at an XR protest

The Surrey college student is a self-proclaimed "birth blow" and says she will never have children for the environment.

She swore at a rally last year, “How could I raise a child in a world that doesn't care about its future? I declare that I will not bear children, but I will continue the fight for climate justice and hope that our actions will improve the future for all children of all kinds who already live on this beautiful planet. & # 39;

The red-haired zoology student at Leeds University expressed her support for "mass, nonviolent, civil disobedience" and said her goal was to "wake up the passive masses who sleep on the path to extinction".

When she came to Extinction Rebellion, her mother Stefanie wrote online: "I can't express how proud I am of her."

Miss Dibben lives with her mother and jewelry designer father Jon, 53, in a £ 350,000 house in a village near Horsham. She was charged with grossly breaking the Knowsley blockade.

4. Gully Bujak, 27

A self-proclaimed "actress, model and extra" she was seen sprawled on an inflatable mattress on a bus during the Hertfordshire protest.

When she was arrested and taken away from a WPC, she raved about her "extraordinary" protesters like they were on a hit West End show.

The activist said: “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.

"We say the following about these papers: They will no longer come between us."

5. Robert Possnett, 58

Former paratrooper Robert Possnett calls himself a "literary snob and true ale lover".

Former paratrooper Robert Possnett calls himself a "literary snob and true ale lover".

The former paratrooper loves beer, good books – and is annoying. Mr Possnett describes himself as a "literary snob and a true ale lover" on social media and bragged on Twitter for joining the protest on Friday night at the Broxbourne plant.

He had previously been convicted of participating in an XR protest.

Yesterday one of his sons told the Mail that he was "a very passionate protester of climate change".

The family lives in a large chalet style house in leafy Great Barton near Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. The property is full of books with windows for bookshelves.

A neighbor said, “Robert has been campaigning for a long time. He's a handsome guy who loves his beer, but I'm sure a few people here were upset this morning when they couldn't get their newspapers. & # 39;

6. Jon Fuller, 62

A former HM Revenue and Customs official, he is a seasoned activist who was arrested from the pink boat in Oxford Circus during protests against the Extinction Rebellion last year.

He ran for Parliament in 2015 as a Green candidate in Southend, finishing fifth.

In Broxbourne he told the Mail: “We are asking the media to tell the truth now. We have no more time. & # 39;

7. Donald Bell, 64

Former infantryman Donald Bell

Former infantryman Donald Bell

As a young infantryman in the British Army, he was hit by shrapnel from an IRA car bomb that killed two other soldiers in Stewartstown in 1974.

Mr. Bell made four missions with the Royal Anglican Regiment.

These days he is fighting against climate change.

In February, he was seen digging the lawn at Trinity College, Cambridge, and was later arrested after being glued to a police car. He told reporters that he had written letters to the government for nearly 50 years but was always ignored.

He said, “We had to be more disruptive. I just felt compelled to do something for my children and grandchildren. & # 39;

8. Richard Hallewell, 49

The father of four from Thurston, Suffolk, is the director of two technology companies, including a software company.

He held up the banner blocking the street in Broxbourne and said, "We have tried all the beautiful things, we have written to our MPs, we have done all these things and nothing has happened."

Tech Company Director and father of four Richard Hallewell

Tech Company Director and father of four Richard Hallewell

Eco zealots could be in jail for FIVE YEARS: Priti Patel threatens to amend the law to turn Extinction Rebellion into a criminal gang so that tougher sentences can be met

ByJason Groves Political Editor for the Daily Mail

Extinction Rebellion Protesters who attack our way of life should go to jail, Priti Patel warns today.

The interior minister has ordered a review of the law to tighten penalties for environmental extremists after they blocked newspaper printing companies in an attempt to stifle freedom of expression.

Options considered include expelling the group as an organized crime gang, which would expose the militants to prison terms of up to five years.

Miss Patel wrote in the Daily Mail today that activists "should face the full force of the law" to "pursue guerrilla tactics … that seek to undermine and harm our society".

Around 100 protesters who turned against Newsprinters' printing plants in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire and Knowsley near Liverpool in an attempt to suppress free speech have been warned that they could face jail if the law was changed

Around 100 protesters who turned against newspaper printers in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire and Knowsley near Liverpool in an attempt to suppress free speech have been warned that a change in the law could face jail sentences

Home Secretary Priti Patel has ordered a review of the law to tighten penalties for environmental extremists

Home Secretary Priti Patel has ordered a review of the law to tighten penalties for environmental extremists

One of the protesters from the bamboo lock-ons is led away by a police officer in front of the Newsprinters printing plant in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire

One of the protesters from the bamboo lock-ons is led away by a police officer outside the Newsprinters printing works in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire

She added: “I am committed to ensuring that the police have the necessary powers to deal with the disruption caused by groups like Extinction Rebellion.

"We have to defend ourselves against this attack on capitalism, our way of life and ultimately our freedoms."

A Home Office source confirmed that Miss Patel would like to see tougher penalties against the ringleaders of a group whose actions are aimed at maximizing economic damage and disruption.

"We want some people to be beaten up instead of fleeing with a fine that they can pay from their trust fund," the source said.

Extinction Rebellion protesters are blocking access to a print shop in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, and leaving the shelves of some newsagents empty on Saturday morning

Extinction Rebellion protesters are blocking access to a print shop in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, and leaving the shelves of some newsagents empty Saturday morning

Die Blockade der Druckereien am Freitagabend in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, und Knowsley, Merseyside, störte die Verbreitung von 1,5 Millionen Zeitungen, darunter Daily Mail, Sun, Times und Telegraph.

Miss Patels Intervention kam wie folgt:

  • Die Minister befahlen der Polizei, dafür zu sorgen, dass es keine Wiederholung gab, und Boris Johnson rief persönlich die Kommissarin der Stadtpolizei, Cressida Dick, an.
  • Sir Keir Starmer stand unter dem Druck, Labours ehemalige Schattenheimsekretärin Diane Abbott zu verurteilen, die die XR-Demonstranten mit den Suffragetten verglich.
  • Polizeichefs wurden wegen ihrer "sanften" Herangehensweise an die Proteste kritisiert.
  • Extinction Rebellion musste leugnen, dass es von militanten Linken wie der Socialist Workers Party infiltriert wurde.

Die Blockaden am Freitagabend wurden von der gesamten Regierung verurteilt. Der Premierminister sagte, es sei "völlig inakzeptabel, den Zugang der Öffentlichkeit zu Nachrichten auf diese Weise einzuschränken".

Polizei und Feuerwehr vor den Druckereien von Newsprinters in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire

Polizei und Feuerwehr vor den Druckereien von Newsprinters in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire

Die Blockaden waren die jüngsten in einer Reihe von Protesten gegen direkte Aktionen, bei denen die Metropolitan Police 20 feste Strafanzeigen in Höhe von jeweils £ 10.000 gemäß den Coronavirus-Bestimmungen erlassen hat.

Gestern Abend sagten Regierungsquellen, Miss Patel und der Premierminister hätten Beamte gebeten, eine rasche Überprüfung des Gesetzes durchzuführen.

Abbott von Labour vergleicht sie mit Suffragetten

Diane Abbott von Labour löste gestern Empörung aus, als sie die Aktivisten der Extinction Rebellion verteidigte, die Zeitungsdruckmaschinen blockierten.

Miss Abbott kritisierte die Pläne der Regierung, sie als Bande des organisierten Verbrechens zu klassifizieren, und beschrieb die Proteste als "legale Taktik".

Sie sagte: "Sie sind keine Kriminellen, sie sind Demonstranten und Aktivisten in der Tradition der Suffragetten und der Hungermärsche der 1930er Jahre."

Die ehemalige Innenministerin von Shadow sagte am Sonntag zu Sophy Ridge von Sky News: "Ich denke, es ist wichtig, uns daran zu erinnern, dass direkte Maßnahmen – wie diese Maßnahmen waren – tatsächlich legal sind."

Außenminister Dominic Raab sagte: „Ich bin erstaunt über Diane Abbotts Bemerkungen. The idea that it is right to damage property or intervene with a free press in the name of ongoing protest is perverse in my opinion. & # 39;

Zu den Optionen gehört die Verwendung des Gesetzes über schwere Kriminalität von 2015, um die Gruppe als Bande organisierter Kriminalität auszuweisen. Dadurch können Aktivisten möglicherweise zu Gefängnisstrafen von bis zu fünf Jahren verurteilt werden.

Die Minister prüfen auch neue Befugnisse im Rahmen des Gesetzes über die öffentliche Ordnung zum Schutz der „kritischen nationalen Infrastruktur und der Grundsätze der Demokratie“.

Dies könnte es für Demonstranten illegal machen, Standorte wie das Parlament, die Gerichte oder Zeitungsdruckereien zu blockieren.

Aussterben Rebellion hat Menschen und Unternehmen in einer Reihe von direkten Protesten weit verbreitet gestört. Eine Regierungsquelle sagte: "Tatsache ist, dass sie sich organisieren, um Verbrechen zu begehen."

Richard Walton, ehemaliger Leiter der Terrorismusbekämpfung an der Met, sagte, die Gruppe sei eine extremistische Organisation, deren Methoden "konfrontiert und herausgefordert" werden müssten.

Herr Walton, jetzt Senior Fellow in der Denkfabrik Policy Exchange, sagte, es gebe "genügend Rechtfertigung" für die Polizei, die Gruppe aufdringlich zu überwachen.

Extinction Rebellion sagte, es wäre lächerlich, die Gruppe als Bande organisierter Kriminalität einzustufen.

In a statement last night, the group said: 'According to the Government's own strategy 'organised crime' is 'characterised by violence or the threat of violence and by the use of bribery and corruption'.

That is hardly an accurate description of the thousands of ordinary people who take part in Extinction Rebellion's non-violent protests.'

The group claimed its targeting of print works was designed to force newspapers to give more coverage to climate change.

But the action led to many Sun readers missing an interview with Sir David Attenborough on the subject. Academic studies suggest newspaper coverage of climate issues has been rising in recent years.

STEPHEN GLOVER: How to beat the eco warrior bullies? Apply the law!

For those who remember militant trade unionists laying siege to newspaper offices in the 1980s, the scenes outside printing plants in Hertfordshire and on Merseyside on Friday night and Saturday morning brought back bad memories.

Only this time it wasn't trade unions stifling a free Press by blocking the distribution of newspapers. The culprits were Extinction Rebellion activists – usually middle-class types who are uninterested in debate and have no respect for democracy.

How does society cope with such people? The extremists are not peaceful protesters making a point, as is their right. They are prepared to bring a great city such as London to a halt, causing inconvenience to hundreds of thousands of blameless individuals.

Indeed, although any attempt to suppress newspapers is chilling because it evokes communist or fascist regimes, interference in the lives of ordinary people is probably worse because of the sheer extent of the disturbance.

For those who remember militant trade unionists laying siege to newspaper offices in the 1980s, the scenes outside printing plants in Hertfordshire and on Merseyside on Friday night and Saturday morning brought back bad memories. Pictured: Mounted officers hold back striking print workers outside News International's Wapping Plant

For those who remember militant trade unionists laying siege to newspaper offices in the 1980s, the scenes outside printing plants in Hertfordshire and on Merseyside on Friday night and Saturday morning brought back bad memories. Pictured: Mounted officers hold back striking print workers outside News International's Wapping Plant

Extinction Rebellion (XR) succeeded in April 2019 and again last October in immobilising the nation's capital. Bridges and roads were blocked, public transport suspended. Other cities suffered similar upheavals, if on a smaller scale.

Together the protests set back the Metropolitan Police at least £37million. Contrast its annual budget of just £15million for a violent crime taskforce operating in London.

The financial burden of the disruption on businesses and shops, although impossible to calculate precisely, may have been even greater. One estimate is that just two days of malarkey cost companies in the West End £12million, with footfall and spending down a quarter.

Other protest groups in the fairly recent past such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament or the women of Greenham Common seem reasonable, moderate and considerate compared to the often destructive Extinction Rebellion.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) succeeded in April 2019 and again last October in immobilising the nation’s capital. Bridges and roads were blocked, public transport suspended

Extinction Rebellion (XR) succeeded in April 2019 and again last October in immobilising the nation's capital. Bridges and roads were blocked, public transport suspended

So I think the Government is correct to view this organisation, which has apparently been infiltrated by several Far Left groups, as unusually ruthless and dangerous.

But it doesn't follow that XR should be reclassified as an 'organised crime group', as is reportedly one option being contemplated by the Government. The thinking is this would enable the authorities to hand out much more severe sentences.

The trouble is that Extinction Rebellion can't accurately be described as an organised crime group, which is defined by the Crown Prosecution Service as having 'at its purpose, or one of its purposes, the carrying on of criminal activities'.

However obnoxious some of Extinction Rebellion's activists may be, and however ready they are to break the law, the organisation as a whole is plainly not engaged in a criminal conspiracy.

To reclassify it in such terms would be to risk making martyrs of its misguided leaders. More seriously still, it might be seen to create a precedent that, when the Government disapproves of people exercising their right of free speech, they can be redesignated as criminals.

No, let's not treat XR in that way. There is no need to. For there are already enough existing laws in the police's armoury, if only they had the gumption to apply them.

Unfortunately, on Friday night and Saturday morning the police were slow to act. At the printing plants in Hertfordshire and on Merseyside, they failed to start clearing Extinction Rebellion protesters for more than six hours. In the end, there were 80 arrests. Their relaxed attitude recalls the laid-back behaviour of the some of the police during the demonstrations in London last year. Absurdly, officers were filmed raving with protesters, while one policeman was spotted skateboarding on Waterloo Bridge.

Labor's Diane Abbott defended the protest, saying direct action was a "legal tactic" and adding that it would be "ridiculous" for the government to reclassify the rebellion of annihilation

Labor's Diane Abbott defended the protest, saying direct action was a "legal tactic" and adding that it would be "ridiculous" for the government to reclassify the rebellion of annihilation

Have ordinary police officers gone soft? Or is it just their timorous, politically correct bosses? There is a new tendency to try to make common cause with protesters, as evidenced by officers 'taking the knee' in Black Lives Matter demonstrations in June.

No one could be a more enthusiastic believer than I am in the concept of policing by consent, but that does not comprise doing nothing when existing laws are clearly being broken.

Isn't obstructing the Queen's highway against the law? The 1980 Highways Act states that 'if a person, without lawful authority or excuse, in any way wilfully obstructs the free passage along a highway, he is guilty of an offence'.

What about the law of aggravated trespass? Trespassing while at the same time intentionally obstructing, disrupting or intimidating others from carrying out 'lawful activities' is a criminal offence.

Not for the first time, Labour MP and former Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott was mistaken when she asserted yesterday that blockading newspaper printing plants was a 'legal tactic'.

In an article in today's Mail, Home Secretary Priti Patel hints at new laws. There has been speculation that these could protect judges, MPs and even journalists going about their normal business. Well, conceivably, if it proves necessary.

But we should beware of laws aimed at Extinction Rebellion – and certainly avoid treating it as a criminal organisation. Let's use existing legislation, which safeguards free speech on the one hand, and doesn't allow bullies to destroy livelihoods on the other.

All we need then is a robust and sensible police force that is determined to enforce the law.

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