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REFILE-UPDATE 1-British newspapers distribution hit by Extinction Rebellion blockade

Sat, 5th Sep 2020 11:06

(Removes repeated paragraph)

* Rupert Murdoch owned printworks blockaded

* Police make 63 arrests

* Action condemned by UK government

LONDON, Sept 5 (Reuters) - The distribution of several
British newspapers was disrupted on Saturday after Extinction
Rebellion climate change activists blockaded printing presses
used by Rupert Murdoch's News UK, the publisher of The Times and
The Sun.

The group said late on Friday that nearly 80 people had
blocked roads leading to two printworks, at Broxbourne in
Hertfordshire, north east of London, and at Knowsley, near
Liverpool.

Hertfordshire police said they had made 42 arrests, while
Merseyside police said they had made 21.

The Murdoch-owned Newsprinters works also print the Daily
Mail, the Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times.

Extinction Rebellion said it took the action to highlight
what it regards as the newspapers' failure to accurately report
on climate change.

The protests, which continued through to Saturday, were
condemned by interior minister Priti Patel.

"This morning people across the country will be prevented
from reading their newspaper because of the actions of
Extinction Rebellion," she said on Twitter.

"This attack on our free press, society and democracy is
completely unacceptable."

A Newsprinters spokeswoman said the disruption meant
printing had to be 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," she said.

"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."

The blockade is part of a week of protests by Extinction
Rebellion, including on Wednesday in Parliament Square where
demonstrators lay under white sheets to represent corpses.

The group says an emergency response and mass move away from
polluting industries and behaviours is needed to avert a looming
climate cataclysm.

It said it plans further protests in central London on
Saturday.
(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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