Over the weekend, Extinction Rebellion protesters blocked roads leading to and from printing presses in Hertsfordshire and Merseyside, delaying the delivery of millions of newspapers to UK shops. Protesters specifically targeted the Newsprinters presses, which print papers such as The Sun and The Times – both owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
In addition, copies of The Telegraph, Daily Mail, Evening Standard and some Guardian issues were also delayed.
Now, the government is seeking to reclassify Extinction Rebellion and toughen restrictions on where protesters can legally hold demonstrations, The Telegraph claims.
A government source told the paper: “It’s clear they’re not your normal protest group, so you have to look at them in a different way.”
It is not clear how the government would reclassify Extinction Rebellion or what this would mean for the group.
However, it is understood ministers are looking at granting police new powers to prevent protesters from disrupting “tenets of democracy” such as parliament votes and press distribution.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson 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’ access to news in this way.”
Extinction Rebellion responded via one of its Twitter accounts.
READ: Extinction Rebellion sparks chaos at Westminster as activists BLOCK Parliament entrance
The Extinction Rebellion protests – dubbed the “We Want to Live” demonstrations – are due to be held until September 14 having started on the 1st.
The central action will involve activists sitting in the road outside of Parliament to “maintain a constant presence” until minister pass The Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (CEE).
In January this year, it was claimed counter-terrorism police had included Extinction Rebellion in a list of extremist ideologies.
Police then recalled this decision and said the group was not extremist, according to the Guardian.
The CEE bill was tabled last Wednesday. It will aim to ensure the UK meets its responsibilities under the UN 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
This will mean sharply cutting the UK’s carbon emissions in order to keep global temperatures within 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, according to Green World.