Extinction Rebellion newspaper protest: Twenty-six charged

Julie Marson MP- Hertford and Stortford..Pic Vikki Lince

Julie Marson MP- Hertford and Stortford..Pic Vikki Lince

The group said associating it with the state's definition of a crime gang as "characterised by violence or the threat of violence and by the use of bribery and corruption" was an insult to the thousands of ordinary citizens who supported its cause.

The review could lead to XR being treated as an organised crime group, sources said, as part of a clampdown on its activities.

Some newsagents' shelves were left empty on the morning of Saturday 5 September after Extinction Rebellion (XR) protesters targeted Newsprinters printing works at Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, and Knowsley, near Liverpool, blocking the day's papers from leaving the depots.

Merseyside Police said they had arrested 30 people, while Hertfordshire Police said they had taken 50 people into custody.

© Photograph: Hollie Adams/Getty Images Extinction Rebellion demonstrators outside Buckingham Palace on Saturday.

On Friday, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel condemned an event by the environmentalist group Extinction Rebellion (XR) to block printworks used by The Times, The Sun, The Telegraph, and the Daily Mail after XR activists accused the news outlets of failing to "accurately" report on climate change issues. At least 80 people were arrested.

Activists in the United Kingdom also blockaded two printworks, saying that the newspapers concerned were refusing to properly report the climate emergency.

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Police figures show that at least 20 people have been arrested for breaking the national security law , which carries a maximum life sentence.

When asked about the blockade, former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said direct action is a "legal tactic" and added it would be "ridiculous" for the Government to reclassify Extinction Rebellion. Ministers were said to be looking into new powers to give police greater scope to intercept demonstrators.

The suggestion that the government will crack down on Extinction Rebellion was hailed by Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, who wrote on social media: "I am pleased that the government is talking tough on the appalling behaviour of Extinction Rebellion... but talking tough and acting are two very different things".

"Extinction Rebellion made a decision to stop the distribution of the print version of several newspapers for one day and suddenly our politicians are up in arms".

Last year, Mr Nielson said if groups did use CEF funding for anything illegal, "I imagine we would not provide them funding again".

In a statement published on its website the Telegraph said: "On Friday night, a group of extremists from Extinction Rebellion blockaded the printing plants where the Telegraph and other titles are produced".

Chief Superintendent Matt Nicholls of Hertfordshire Constabulary said: "People have a right to peaceful protest, however this was a carefully orchestrated blockade of a public road, created to cause the maximum possible harm to local businesses".

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