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30 arrested after protesters block newspaper printing site

Thirty people were arrested as police responded to a protest at a Merseyside printing site.

Backers of the Extinction Rebellion movement used a van and boat to blockade Newsprinters in Knowsley on Friday night.

The protest continued into Saturday morning before being brought to an end just before midday.

Organisers said they were demonstrating because of concerns about coverage of environmental issues and the “manipulation of the truth” by certain corporations.

The blockade was part of a bid to prevent newspapers printed at the site from reaching shops on Saturday.

Merseyside Police sent officers to Knowsley Industrial Estate at 10.10pm “following reports that a group of protesters had gathered outside News International on Kitling Road”.

Penrin Road and Villias Road were closed as a result of the demonstration.

Just before midday on Saturday, Merseyside Police confirmed the blockade had been removed.

A spokeswoman for the force said: “The 30 people arrested for aggravated trespass have been taken to police stations across Merseyside where they will be interviewed by officers.

“A boat and two vans, used by the protesters to cause obstruction to and from the premises of News International have been removed. The incident has now been stood down and the surrounding roads and entrances have been fully opened.”

Newsprinters prints products for outlets including The Times, The Daily Mail, The S*n and The Evening Standard.



Extinction Rebellion protesters block road to printers in Knowsley
Extinction Rebellion protesters block road to printers in Knowsley

Its website describes the company as a “wholly owned subsidiary of News Corp UK and Ireland”, which is part of Rupert Murdoch’s business empire and runs newspapers including The S*n and The Times.

After the protesters arrived at the site on Friday night, the group hung banners and refused to move throughout the night.

In a statement sent to the ECHO, Extinction Rebellion said: “The plan is to maintain the blockade throughout the night, using vehicles and bamboo lock-ons, in order to prevent these papers reaching news stands on Saturday.

“People are holding banners that say ‘Free the Truth’ and ‘They want us divided / Stand Together.’

“The groups are using disruption to expose the failure of these corporations to accurately report on the climate and ecological emergency, and their consistent manipulation of the truth to suit their own personal and political agendas.”

A similar protest has led to 13 arrests in London.




A poster published by a Twitter account called Extinction Rebellion Manchester, which was shared by the group’s regional account for Liverpool, described the action as a campaign to “free the truth”.

It said: “A handful of rebels have blockaded major printing presses in London and Liverpool (with sister actions in Glasgow, Australia, and the US) fighting for a free press and a free democracy. Go and show your support!”

The poster also said “five billionaires control the news that 70% of the country read” and that they “profit from our division, manufacture our obedience and manipulate the truth”.

The statement issued by Extinction Rebellion added: “We’re not moving forward at the speed we need to turn the climate and ecological emergency around.

“We’re trapped somewhere between acceptance and the reality of just how bad the situation is. The right wing media is a barrier to the truth, failing to reflect the scale and urgency of the crisis and hold governments to account.”




“Coverage in many of the newspapers printed here is polluting national debate on climate change, immigration policy, the rights and treatment of minority groups, and on dozens of other issues.

“They distract us with hate and maintain their own power and wealth, profiting from our division. We can’t move forward until this barrier falls.

“The truth is being held hostage and so are we. We need to free the truth.”

Knowsley Green Party this morning said it “shared the same goals and objectives as Extinction Rebellion” but had no involvement and no prior notification about the protest.

Newsprinters has condemned the protests as an “attack on all of the free press” which had affected workers going about their jobs and others such as newsagents who face “financial penalty”.

A spokesman for Newsprinters said in a statement, reported by the Press Association: “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.

“Thanks to other industry partners, printing was transferred to other sites.”

The spokesperson said the company apologised to any readers of The S*n, 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”.



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