MASS protests which disrupt everyday life or hamper free speech will be banned after an Extinction Rebellion print blockade prevented millions from buying a newspaper.
Boris Johnson ordered tough new anti-insurgency laws tonight to curb militants.
The eco-extremists blocked roads with scaffolding or glued themselves to delivery vans to stop papers — including The Sun — reaching shops across the country.
The PM declared the action “completely unacceptable” and promised to stop blockheads targeting critical national infrastructure or symbols of free speech.
A source said tonight: “This is not the first time that a demo by Extinction Rebellion has overstepped the line between peaceful protest and subversion.
“The Prime Minister wants officials to look at new powers to combat groups who are out to sabotage lawful activity by others and interfere with free speech.”
Mr Johnson acted after around 150 protesters laid siege to two major printing plants to “send a message” about global warming.
It left three million readers without their morning paper today — on a day they would have read Sir David Attenborough writing about climate change in The Sun.
Adding to the grim irony, hundreds of extra vans had to be dispatched to emergency print works across the country, creating a bigger carbon footprint than normal.
Mr Johnson said: “A free Press is vital in holding powerful institutions to account on critical issues, including the fight against climate change.
“It is completely unacceptable to seek to limit the public’s access to news in this way.”
‘Without a free press, the system collapses’
By Jeremy Clarkson
THE far-Left Workers Revolutionary Party runs an online newspaper which urges readers to support Putin in Russia, obliterate Israel, close schools and rise up against capitalism.
I disagree with every single thing these spotty misguided sixth-formers say. But we should all defend their right to say it.
If anyone hacked into their servers and put up a load of pro-Trump messages about the importance of the oil companies, they’d be furious.
And once I’d wiped away the tears of mirth, I’d say I was furious too.
We MUST have a press free from intrusion either by politicians or the mob. A free press is the keystone of everything we hold dear. Without it, the system collapses.
But that’s the problem with all these people who’ve leaped on to the climate bandwagon. They are way beyond the far Left. They actually want the system to collapse. So don’t be fooled. These people are properly dangerous.
They may wear nuclear-free, peace trousers and sing Kumbaya but they have the same goals as ISIS. Let’s hope the courts realise.
‘Harming the cause’
By Jane Moore
IT seems that Extinction Rebellion has got a touch of ipsedixitism.
Which, for anyone who’s not Boris Johnson, is Latin for “he said it himself” and refers to a dogmatic expression of opinion without proof.
In short, blocking the delivery of various newspapers for their supposed “failure to cover the climate crisis” when, in fact, all of them have done so numerous times.
One of them being The Sun that, on the day of the blockade, included an article by Sir David Attenborough on how we can all still “do lots” to help tackle the climate crisis.
But hey, don’t let the inconvenient facts get in the way of a politically motivated protest.
XR dislikes any newspaper that might question its methods and that’s fine.
Let’s always have the debate. But attempting to quash critics via juvenile tactics will only harm their cause, not advance it.
Home Secretary Priti Patel held midnight conference calls with three chief constables, who told her the demos had been planned to cause maximum disruption.
Ms Patel, who as a youngster helped put supplements inside papers at her father’s corner shop, said: “People across the country were prevented from reading their newspaper because of the actions of Extinction Rebellion.
“This attack on our free Press, society and democracy is completely unacceptable.”
CALLS TO BE OUTLAWED
The protesters used vehicles and bamboo scaffolding to block roads outside Newsprinters works at Broxbourne, Herts, and Knowsley, near Liverpool.
Fifty were arrested outside the Hertfordshire plant and a further 30 on Merseyside.
Tonight, a grassroots Tory campaign called for Extinction Rebellion to be outlawed.
This attack on our free Press, society and democracy is completely unacceptable.
The Blue Collar Conservatism group, which includes 120 MPs, said: “Today, XR blocked hardworking ambulance staff on duty; today they shut down national newspapers.
“This medieval group consistently threatens working people’s lives and livelihoods. It’s a joke that XR hasn’t been outlawed yet.”
Shadow Culture Secretary Jo Stevens said: “A free Press is vital for democracy. People have the right to read the newspapers they want.”
The protests were organised by environmentalist and Independent columnist Donnachadh McCarthy, 61, who has a £750,000 house in trendy Camberwell, South London, surrounded by upmarket brunch spots and swanky gastro-pubs.
Neighbours did include Mr Johnson and Carrie Symonds, before they moved to Downing Street.
As well as writing scaremongering books and columns, Mr McCarthy performs “eco-audits” for companies and charities to assess their environmental impact.
A free Press is vital in holding powerful institutions to account on critical issues, including the fight against climate change.
He said the group is also planning attacks on social media corporations.
But free speech campaigner Mick Hume accused Extinction Rebellion of showing “sheer contempt for the people they claim to represent”.
He said: “Extinction Rebellion wants to crush open debate and shut down anyone who doesn’t agree with them.
“It’s the sort of thing not seen since the heyday of union power — but at least the unions represented a large number of people. Extinction Rebellion is just a handful of over-privileged middle-class snobs.
“They’re effectively saying, ‘We don’t trust people to make up their own minds, so we must control what they consume’.”
And Piers Morgan wrote: “You literally stopped people reading Sir David Attenborough’s article about climate change, you clowns.”
‘Shooting yourself in the foot’
By Lorraine Kelly
IT is shameful how politicians are burying their heads in the sand over climate change. It keeps me awake at night.
But in the middle of a pandemic, and with Brexit about to bite us on the arse, the last thing we need is a bunch of privileged white middle-class malcontents making it even more difficult for us to go about our daily business.
And to stop us from buying our favourite newspapers, especially as yesterday’s Sun contained an impassioned piece about global warming by the esteemed Sir David Attenborough. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
It’s utterly baffling.
An already over-stretched police force has to use valuable funds and man hours to deal with protesters’ destructive posturing. It’s gone beyond annoying. It’s now positively dangerous.
‘Dense and smug – what a combination’
By Rod Liddle
JUST as with all far-Left protestors, Extinction Rebellion cannot stand freedom of speech.
People who don’t share their opinions should not be argued with, they should be silenced. That’s what happened on Friday night.
“Let’s stop newspapers we disagree with being distributed to the people who want to read them.” That’s how they think, these deranged middle-class perpetual agitators.
Only they can be right. Everybody else is wrong — and should shut up.
Never mind, incidentally, that the vast majority of journos working for News UK are just as worried about climate change as they are.
These entitled gobs on sticks are too wrapped up in their own ludicrous conspiracy theories to think the matter through. They are in a world beyond dense.
Dense and smug – what a combination. Like a block of tungsten with a smirk on its face.
Why are they so indulged by the authorities? There was no such indulgence from the police when the anti-lockdown protesters made their own doolally case last week.
But XR somehow get a free pass, every time. Allowed to disrupt the lives of ordinary Londoners.
Prevent them getting to work or going about their business. It’s time we said enough is enough. It’s time the authorities started handing out prison sentences and whopping fines.
Start standing up for the silent majority who are sick to the back teeth of these affluent, bone-idle, deluded tossers.
A spokesman for Newsprinters said: “Overnight printing at two plants was disrupted by activity by Extinction Rebellion. Thanks to other industry partners, printing was transferred to other sites.
“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.”
‘AN ATTACK ON HARD-WORKING PEOPLE’
The Federation of Independent Retailers said: “Newsagents have played a critical role during Covid-19 in getting newspapers into the hands of readers and this is not helpful at a time when every sale counts.”
Newsagent Waran Kanda, 47, of Hythe, Kent, had to cancel 300 home deliveries of The Sun, The Times and the Telegraph — and still paid out £460 to his 12 paperboys and girls, despite them having no papers to deliver.
He said: “We send papers to elderly people and residents in nursing homes. They really need their papers in the morning.
“These protesters shouldn’t be taking on the newspapers. This isn’t going to get them support.”
Derek Jones, 50, of St Budeaux newsagents in Plymouth, said: “This is an attack on the hard-working man and woman as well as an attack on the free press.”
Clive Garner, 51, whose 16-year-old son Kai does a paper round in Lutterworth, Leics, said: “The people he’s delivering to are older and the papers are their enjoyment. It’s ridiculous.”
Amanda Godfrey, 52, manager of Robinsons News in Exeter, said: “The protests are ridiculous.
Paperboy: ‘I lost £2’
PAPERBOY Oli Noble usually delivers around 30 papers on a Saturday — but his round was slashed to just ten yesterday.
Oli, 13, said: “I had my wages docked because of the protest. It was only £2, but it’s still irritating.
“Most people I deliver to are elderly. They buy the paper because they enjoy it so it must be frustrating for them.”
Oli, who delivers in Liphook, Hants, added: “It’s censoring the news.”
“They are affecting people’s livelihoods. They are doing a huge disservice to the country by stopping the flow of news.”
And Sun reader Elizabeth Allen, 63, a retired data entry clerk from Devon, added: “I love the paper — I’ve been reading it for more than 40 years.
“These Extinction Rebellion people are idiots. I’m all for saving the planet, but this is stupid. It’s not winning anyone over.”
The Sun on Sunday says
CLIMATE-wreckers who halted delivery of The Sun and other newspapers are not just attacking the rights of millions of people to choose what they want to read.
They are also trying to destroy our greatest democratic principle: freedom of speech.
Their blind hatred was also deliberately aimed to hurt the ordinary hard-working people who produce and sell newspapers.
The magnificent printers and drivers who turned out night after night during the Covid crisis to bring you the news.
The hard-working newsagents and shopkeepers across Britain whose businesses have already been devastated by the pandemic.
The paper boys and girls who were sent home empty-handed.
And you, our magnificent readers, who were deprived of your favourite paper.
For that we are truly sorry.
The actions of the 150 or so Extinction Rebellion activists were moronic even by their own standards.
If you were lucky enough to have got hold of a copy of yesterday’s Sun, you would have read an impassioned interview with Sir David Attenborough demanding a global effort to save our planet, which we are reprinting today.
It is one of many articles that The Sun and The Sun on Sunday have carried as part of an open, democratic debate.
How ironic that so-called climate activists prevented that critical message being read by millions of people.
But then the climate is only a pretext for this ragbag army of anarchists, whose real aim is to smash the system.
Boris Johnson needs to act fast and outlaw this type of blockade immediately.
The voice of Britain’s free press is too important to ever be silenced again.
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