Arrests made after XR blocks printers for US newspapers including NYT on Earth Day

The New York City chapter of Extinction Rebellion disrupted the operations

Louise Boyle
Senior Climate Correspondent, New York
,Ethan Freedman
Friday 22 April 2022 22:44 BST
Extinction Rebellion block newspaper presses on Earth Day
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Climate activists kicked off Earth Day by blocking the printing presses of major US newspapers, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

The New York City chapter of Extinction Rebellion (XR) disrupted the operations of The New York Times Company, News Corp and Gannet with the intention of targeting the Times and the Journal print runs, along with USA Today.

“The purpose of today’s newspaper blockade is to draw the public’s attention to how mass media corporations like News Corp, The New York Times Company, and Gannet are failing to cover the climate emergency with the frequency it deserves, in some cases prioritizing the entertainment of subscribers,” Extinction Rebellion said, in a statement.

The protest ended at 6.30am (EST) with 15 people arrested, Exctinction Rebellion NYC told The Independent.

Other protests took place around the world on Earth Day, marked annually on 22nd April, including demonstrations against continued use of Russian fossil fuels in Europe.

In the Western Ukrainian city of Lviv, which has been under missile strikes from Russian forces, protestors demonstrated with signs that said “embargo now,” Reuters reports.

Police arrest an activist with Extinction Rebellion after the group protested at the New York Times printing press

In Brussels, Warsaw and Berlin, protesters showed up at German government offices and embassy building. The country has not been in favor of an embargo of Russian oil and gas, Reuters notes.

Greta Thunberg tweeted a photo of herself on Friday with fellow protesters on their weekly school strike to draw attention to the climate crisis.

“This is not a “happy earth day”. It never has been,” Ms Thunberg tweeted. “#EarthDay has turned into an opportunity for people in power to post their “love” for the planet, while at the same time destroying it at maximum speed.”

Protestors in Bogota demonstrated against fracking projects planned in Colombia, AP reports. And in the Philippines, a climate group posted videos of people marching through the streets of Manila holding mock-ups of gravestones that said “1.5C is Dead”

In Washington DC, the local chapter of XR unfurled a huge banner reading “No New Fossil Fuels” and set off flares at the offices of DC Mayor Muriel Bower and the city council.

The World Health Organisation has called for fossil fuels to “stay in the ground” to prevent air pollution, noting how the climate crisis exacerbates human health burdens.

Climate activist group Extinction Rebellion at a blockade in front of the New York Times printing plant in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens on April 22, 2022

The climate crisis is now front and center of many events. In the past year, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s most authoritative body on climate science, warned that global greenhouse gas emissions must start to decline by 2025, at the latest to prevent even more destructive impacts.

In London, XR activists protested at the London office of asset management firm Vanguard, pushing for an immediate halt to European imports of Russian oil and gas, and an end to building fossil fuel infrastructure.

Dozens of masked protesters lit flares which billowed pink smoke and set up deck chairs outside the company, holding signs reading “Vanguard, don’t sink our future”.

Protesters hold a sign reading ‘Vanguard don’t sink our future'

XR’s Money Rebellion arm called on Vanguard to “stop pouring money into industries driving human rights abuses and start using your massive shareholdings to push for global climate action”.

A spokesperson for Vanguard said: “We consider climate change to be a fundamental risk to many companies and their shareholders’ long-term financial success.”

Separately, UK activists from group, Green New Deal, shared footage of their campaigners ambushing the business and energy secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, as he walked to his car asking why he “supports new gas and oil licenses”.

Mr Kwarteng did not respond but hours later welcomed BP’s announcement to develop the Murlach field oil and gas in the North Sea.

Earth Day 2022’s focus is “Invest in our Planet” - encouraging individuals, businesses and world leaders to invest and switch to greener technologies and practices. The event started in 1970 in an attempt to replicate the anti-war movement for environmental causes.

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