As you may have heard, Knowsley Industrial Park was targeted by Extinction Rebellion protesters, leading to significant delays in the delivery of several national newspapers. At least 21 people were arrested, with original reports of 30 and 50 people being taken into custody by Merseyside Police and Hertfordshire Police, respectively. This action has quite rightly received many condemnations already, but that does not mean we should sit idly by.
To give them some kind of hearing, they claimed their action was due to the press’ failure to report on the ‘climate emergency’. They were protesting against the usual suspects; the Conservative Government, Rupert Murdoch and his empire, etc. But in all honesty the platform they seem to have earnt is completely undeserved and so their hearing ends here.
I have been reading the comments under the articles online regarding this news. Commenters from retired nurses to ex-military NCOs passionately detailing their case, that being that they merely wish to read their longstanding publication of choice be that the Mail, Sun or Telegraph, Times or Financial Times all of whom were targeted by the Extinction Rebellion’s invasion. This is quite ridiculous in a modern, democratic, civilised country. Liberals and all right minded people need to stand up and condemn this action and action like this. It is not simply peaceful protest, they are wrong to deny so many their choice of publication.
Don’t forget the affects of these actions have additional consequences; from the news printers not being able to clock in for work to the local newsagent who loses out financially.
The Press have rallied against Extinction Rebellion’s attempts to silence them and some such as the Telegraph have gone further, offering free access to their articles this weekend by lowering their paywall.
There has been some debate on the finer details, labelling the Extinction Rebellion protests as ones having been hijacked by fringe factions, socialist splinters, anarcho-agitators, Trotskyist bedwetters and so on. Parasites, leeching the movement’s following for their own means which by the by, in most cases involves extreme authoritarianism and the kind of fascism that they in fact claim to be against, as we are seeing quite plainly in this case. But I digress, for this debate is in fact a distraction. The only take home message should be that the actions are wholly disgraceful, an attempt at democratic infringement and an affront to freedom. As has been said by the Prime Minister, the actions were ‘completely unacceptable’ as ‘a free press is vital in holding the government and other powerful institutions to account on issues critical for the future of our country’. Well put, withal.