Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s black car was pictured arriving for PMQs at the Carriage Gates entrance to the Houses of Parliament as police swarmed the surrounding streets. Protesters attempted to block the roads by sitting in the road outside. During PMQs, Mr Johnson called the group “a bunch of crusty left-wing anarchists” and condemned their action over the past few days, which included blocking newspaper deliveries over the weekend.
Mr Johnson also took a swipe at Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer for not “condemning” the protests during PMQs.
He added: “I was struck by the silence of the right honourable gentlemen when he had an opportunity to condemn.”
The Prime Minister also suggested the government will crack down on Extinction Rebellion protests.
He said: “I do think it is important now, given the weight of the economic interests that were under threat, the threat to the freedom of the press, that we look at what we can do under a public order and under the law on nuisance.”
Extinction Rebellion protestors blocked the entrance to Parliament
Minister of State for Crime, Policing and the Fire Service Kit Malthouse also condemned the group during PMQs.
He said: “While they persist in their current cause however, our message to those individuals is clear, if you plan to curtail our freedoms through criminal acts, be in no doubt you will face the full force of the law.
“As a government, we will not stand by and let the livelihoods of hard working people to be undermined by a minority using the pretence of tackling climate change to impose an extremist world view.
“Extinction Rebellion’s actions have shown how the tactics of disruptive protests are changing.
“The Home Office has been engaging with police chiefs to understand the challenges they face and assess how they can facilitate peaceful protests while not causing significant disruption and infringing on the rights of others with differing views.”
Boris Johnson’s car was seen arriving as the protests kicked off
5 News political editor Andy Bell posted a picture on Twitter showing protesters held down by police near where Black Rod Sarah Clarke would enter.
The Telegraph’s Christopher Hope noticed police surrounding Westminster just before Parliament and guessed it was related to a potential protest from the climate action group.
He wrote on Twitter: “There is a lot of police in Westminster today; police chopper overhead; manned barriers around carriage gates.
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Extinction Rebellion protesters sat in the road outside Parliament
The latest protests come after several British newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News UK, including the Times and the Sun, were targeted at the weekend.
Nearly 80 members of the group blocked the roads leading to the entrances of two printworks, at Broxbourne in Hertfordshire, north east of London, and at Knowsley, near Liverpool.
This prevented the deliveries of these newspapers.
A spokeswoman for Newsprinters said the disruption resulted in printing being transferred to other sites.
Police were seen removing protesters from the road
Extinction Rebellion protesters were spoken to by the police due to the protests
She said at the weekend: “We apologise sincerely to any readers of The Sun, 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.
“This attack on all of the free press impacted many workers going about their jobs … This is a matter for the Police and the Home Office.”
Mr Johnson also criticised the protests, calling them “completely unacceptable”.
He said: “A free press is vital in holding the government and other powerful institutions to account on issues critical for the future of our country, including the fight against climate change.
“It is completely unacceptable to seek to limit the public’s access to news in this way.”
Sarah Lunnon, a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion, said: “Our media and our government are captured by vested interests. They do not want to see change.
“Three companies alone own 87 percent of the national newspaper market.
“These powerful vested interests are the real organised criminals. They are the true threat to our democracy. And it’s depressing – although no surprise – that so much of the political and media elite has jumped to their defence, and jumped at the opportunity to suppress people power and grassroots protest.
“We will not allow them to criminalise the noble tradition of non-violent civil disobedience.”
Source:Daily Express :: UK Feed