Environmental activists target UK printing plants, delaying newspapers

Environmental activists target UK printing plants, delaying newspapers
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Authorities in the U.K. arrested dozens of environmental activists on Saturday after demonstrators attempted to disrupt the distribution of several national newspapers.

The group called Extinction Rebellion said it targeted two Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp. printworks in Broxbourne and Knowsley, which produce publications such as The Sun and The Times.

Several demonstrators locked themselves to trucks and bamboo scaffolding to block the road outside the printing plants, which also produce papers for publications such as the Daily Mail, Financial Times and The Telegraph.

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Authorities arrested 42 people Saturday outside the Broxbourne plant and another 30 in Knowsley, with the activist group saying remaining protesters ended their demonstration at 11 a.m. local time, The Associated Press reported.

Extinction Rebellion explained their disruption as an attempt “to expose the failure of these corporations to accurately report on the climate and ecological emergency, and their consistent manipulation of the truth to suit their own personal and political agendas.”

Those operating the printing plants called the demonstrations Saturday an “attack on all of the free press” and journalism groups also criticized the blockades. 

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Ian Murray, executive director of the U.K.-based Society of Editors, encouraged the group to engage in peaceful protest but said “it is not acceptable for those who wish only their voices to be heard to attempt to silence others,” the AP reported.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson also condemned attempts to block the free press, saying it “is completely unacceptable to seek to limit the public’s access to news in this way.”

The group has blocked other roads and cities throughout the U.K. in other attempts to voice demands for stronger action against climate change, leading to further arrests.

Extinction Rebellion held a 10-day long demonstration last year, disrupting traffic and businesses across several portions of the U.K., resulting in more than 1,700 arrests.