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Police charge 26 after protestors blockade Knowsley printing presses


Police have charged 26 people with aggravated trespass after protesters blocked the delivery of some of the UK’s biggest newspapers from printing presses at Knowsley on Friday night.

Some newsagents’ shelves were left empty on Saturday morning after Extinction Rebellion demonstrators targeted the Newsprinters works at Knowsley near Liverpool.

Merseyside Police said it had since charged 26 people, aged between 19 and 60, following a demonstration at the “News International premises”.

The blockade prevented delivery vans from leaving the printing presses, which publish the Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp titles The Sun, The Times, The Sun On Sunday and The Sunday Times, as well as The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mail and Mail On Sunday.

The 26 are due to appear at Liverpool and Knowsley Magistrates’ Court and St Helens Magistrates’ Court on January 8 and 13 next year.

Police said all 26 had been granted bail under the condition they do not enter Merseyside or contact any News International employees.

More than 100 demonstrators used vehicles and bamboo lock-ons to block roads outside the Newsprinters’ works on Friday evening, with protests continuing until Saturday afternoon.

In addition, Hertfordshire Police said they had taken 50 people into custody following a blockade at printing works there.

Extinction Rebellion apologised to newsagents for the disruption caused but added it would not apologise to Murdoch, calling on him to “stop suppressing the truth about the climate crisis and profiting from the division your papers create”.

Government sources have said that Home Secretary Priti Patel wants to take a “fresh look” at how Extinction Rebellion is classified under law after a stunt Boris Johnson described as “completely unacceptable”.

The review could lead to Extinction Rebellion being treated as an organised crime group. Parliament, courts and the press could also be given special status, with the potential for police to be handed increased powers to stop demonstrators entering designated areas outside such premises.

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