UK police charge 51 over Extinction Rebellion protest

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Policemen carry away Extinction Rebellion activists taking part in a street blockade in Warsaw, demanding an announcement of Climate Alert for Poland, on September 7, 2020. - Several hundreds activists blocked traffic as they sat down on the street. (Photo by Wojtek RADWANSKI / AFP)

LONDON (United Kingdom) _ British police have charged 51 people after a protest by Extinction Rebellion outside a printing works that caused delays to the deliveries of several national newspapers.

Hertfordshire Police said the protesters were all charged with obstruction of the highway after the protest in Waltham Cross, north of London, on Friday night.

One woman was remanded in custody to appear in court on Monday. The others were bailed until a hearing on November 27, it said in a statement late on Sunday.

Extinction Rebellion, which is conducting 10 days of protests, accuses the newspapers’ owners of “failing to report accurately on the climate and ecological emergency”.

Protesters blocked the road with vehicles and chained themselves to obstacles to prevent delivery lorries leaving the plant.

Deliveries of newspapers including The Times and its tabloid stablemate The Sun were affected.

A separate protest at another plant in northwest England saw 26 people charged with aggravated trespass, Merseyside Police said on Sunday.

The Times and The Sun are owned by News Corp, controlled by media magnate Rupert Murdoch who has been accused of denying climate change.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a former newspaper reporter and columnist, led criticism of the protests, accusing demonstrators of trying to stifle free speech.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has reportedly ordered a review of legislation including the possibility of reclassifying Extinction Rebellion as an organised crime group.

She wrote in the Daily Mail on Monday that activists should “face the full force of the law” because of “guerrilla tactics” that disrupt daily life. _ AFP

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