EXTINCTION Rebellion protestors have blockaded printworks overnight – despite newspapers campaigning and highlighting climate change.
Dozens of eco-warriors have blocked roads near printworks in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, Knowsley near Liverpool and close to Glasgow – halting deliveries of national newspapers.
The eco-group said its aim was to "maintain the block and prevent these papers reaching newsstands" in a bid to “take on the titans of the media industry.”
But The Sun today blasted the demonstration, calling it an “attack on the free press”.
The Sun, along with other national newspapers, has campaigned and highlighted climate change for years.
Today, Sir David Attenborough wrote in The Sun to say humanity is at a crossroads – urging the public to take the opportunity to tackle the climate crisis.
The national treasure says: “The fewer demands we make on the planet’s resources, the better.
“We do that in terms of food, in terms of energy, in terms of being respectful to the environment. We can do lots of things.”
He added: "Humanity is at a crossroads. The natural world is under serious threat and the consequences could be apocalyptic."
Sir David also warns against committing criminal acts, even in the name of a just cause, arguing: “I don’t think it is sensible politics to break the law.
"If you are any good at all, some of your demands will be met and then you will be demanding people abide by those new laws.
“You can’t have it both ways.”
The plants hit by last night's demos print The Sun, The Times, Sun on Sunday, The Scottish Sun, Sunday Times, The Daily Mail and London Evening Standard.
Around 100 protesters remain at the sites this morning, with some seen glued to the road and others seen waving “free the truth” signs.
The protest has seen delivery rounds scrapped at the 11th hour as newspapers were unable to be released from the printworks.
One newsagent, who had to delay 400 deliveries today, told Times Radio it was affecting many elderly readers and those shielding.
Cops said at least 13 people have so far been arrested in connection with the demo.
Hertfordshire Police said in a statement this morning: “We remain in Great Eastern Road, Waltham Cross, after receiving a call at around 10pm last night reporting a protest.
“Our officers have attempted to engage with the group, which consists of around 100 people, in order to ensure the rights of both the protestors and those affected by their presence."
Assistant Chief Constable Owen Weatherill added: “The rights to protest are well established in this country and we remain committed to facilitating peaceful protest and ensuring compliance, however at this time, the group are not engaging with us and the protest is causing major disruption to local businesses.
"At this time, 13 people have been arrested in connection with the incident, and we anticipate more arrests will be made. I’d like to reassure you that we are doing all we can to bring the incident to a peaceful conclusion."
Industry partners are helping to ensure printing capacity is made available for all affected titles so readers have been urged to check back for their paper later today.
ATTACK ON FREE PRESS
Fed-up Brits blasted the campaigners on social media overnight, accusing the protesters of "fascist" behaviour.
The protest attracted dozens of critical posts, with the eco-group accused of discrediting their cause.
One tweeted: “You do of course realise that these printing presses also produce the local newspapers for the surrounding areas don't you.”
Another wrote: “Why don’t you talk to the media in a rational and mature manner rather than giving them more reasons not to take you seriously.
“This demonstration makes no sense and just hinders the cause. I can’t support this.”
And another posted: “So that's nearly 80 people that are and the other 65,999,920 of the UK that aren't.
“That tells us plenty”.
One social media user wrote that the activists’ blockade was "stopping the free press"
Another critic wrote: "Trying to silence the press? That's not fascist behaviour at all."
The criticism was joined by one post which read: "Shows again it has nothing to do with Climate Change."
A spokesperson for Newsprinters said: "Overnight printing at two Newsprinters plants was disrupted by activity by Extinction Rebellion.
"Thanks to other industry partners, printing was transferred to other sites. We apologise sincerely to any readers of The Sun, The Times, the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times who may be unable to buy their usual newspaper this morning due to late deliveries.
"Our teams are working to get newspapers delivered to retailers as soon as possible this morning.
"This attack on all of the free press impacted many workers going about their jobs.
"Overnight print workers, delivery drivers, wholesale workers and retail newsagents have faced delays and financial penalty.
"This is a matter for the Police and the Home Office."
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