UK: Climate activists disrupt newspaper deliveries through protest

Photo: AFP

Climate change protesters in Britain blockaded two printing presses Saturday, disrupting the distribution of numerous national newspapers as they step up 10 days of protests demanding action on environmental issues.

Activist group Extinction Rebellion (XR) targeted both the plants, just north of London and near Liverpool in northwest England, causing delays to deliveries of papers including The Times, the Daily Telegraph, and The Sun.

Dozens of activists blocked roads outside the sites using vehicles and by attaching themselves to other obstacles, "to expose the failure of these corporations to accurately report on the climate and ecological emergency".

XR said it was aiming to disrupt newspapers that are part of News Corp., controlled by Rupert Murdoch's family, as well as right-wing titles The Daily Mail and The London Evening Standard.

"The groups are using disruption and their consistent manipulation of the truth to suit their own personal and political agendas," it added in a statement.

Police said they had so far made 72 arrests at the two locations.

Newsprinters, which runs the plants, said printing had been transferred to other sites and apologised to customers for "late deliveries". 

The Times also apologised to readers unable to buy copies and said on Twitter it was "working to get newspapers delivered to retailers as soon as possible".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was "completely unacceptable to seek to limit the public's access to news in this way".

"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," he said on Twitter.

Dee Patel, 41, who runs a small convenience store in Sevenoaks, southeast of London, said around 120 newspapers had failed to arrive, costing him hundreds of pounds in refunds for the papers and delivery fees.

"Customers keep calling, it's a big pain and disruption. They’re upset," he told AFP. 

"It's not the right way to protest – they should be trying to meet the government or something." 

In its third major wave of UK protests  in a year, it has targeted Westminster and several other sites so far this week, and is vowing to continue with further demonstrations in the coming days.

Source: AFP

Publish : 2020-09-05 20:36:15

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