Extinction Rebellion protesters delay delivery of Saturday papers
Police arrest about 30 demonstrators targeting News Corporation titles
Police and fire services outside the Newsprinters printing works at Broxbourne, Hertfordshire. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Environmental protesters delayed the delivery of Saturday newspapers in the UK after targeting two News Corporation printing presses.
More than 100 Extinction Rebellion (XR) protesters used vehicles and bamboo lock-ons to block roads outside printing works at Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, and Knowsley, near Liverpool on Friday night.
By Saturday morning, police said about 30 people had been arrested.
The Newsprinters presses publish the Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp’s titles including The Sun, The Times, The Sun on Sunday and The Sunday Times, as well as The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, and the London Evening Standard.
Readers of The Sun and The Times were told on Twitter that the protest action could mean delayed deliveries of papers to newsagents on Saturday morning.
Extinction Rebellion said the newspapers consistently manipulated the truth to suit their agendas and failed to report on the climate emergency.
Reacting on Twitter, British home secretary Priti Patel said the attack was unacceptable.
“This morning people across the country will be prevented from reading their newspaper because of the actions of Extinction Rebellion.”
Labour’s shadow international trade secretary Emily Thornberry told Times Radio on Saturday morning: “This is very worrying and I don’t really know what it is that is expected to be achieved and I know that for many older listeners it’s very much part of their daily life, getting their paper delivered in the morning, and I just think it’s wrong.”
Hertfordshire Police earlier said delivery lorries had not left the Broxbourne site as of 6am on Saturday, with 13 arrests made and more expected.
The force previously said officers were called to Great Eastern Road near the Broxbourne plant around 10pm, where they found around 100 protesters who had “secured themselves to structures and one another”.
Newsprinters condemned the protests as an “attack on all of the free press” which had affected workers going about their jobs, and others such as newsagents who face a “financial penalty”.
The company said it had transferred printing to other sites, but that delays would occur in some deliveries of The Sun, The Times, the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times.
Under a banner reading “Free the truth”, XR tweeted that it was using the disruption to expose the newspapers’ “failure to report on the climate & ecological emergency, and their consistent manipulation of truth to suit their own agendas”.
“Coverage in many of the newspapers printed here is polluting national debate on climate change, immigration policy, the rights and treatment of minority groups, and on dozens of other issues,” the group said.
Hertfordshire Police assistant chief constable Owen Weatherill earlier said officers were “working to facilitate the rights of both the protesters and those affected by their presence”.
Merseyside Police tweeted on Saturday morning 17 people had been arrested at the Knowsley plant and officers were still in attendance.
XR protesters also held a smaller demonstration near Motherwell aimed at disrupting the distribution of Saturday’s Scottish Sun newspaper. – PA