Six people were arrested after Extinction Rebellion (XR) dumped a pile of manure outside the offices of the Daily Mail as part of a planned ‘Free the Press’ protest.
Climate activists dropped 7 tonnes of the fertiliser outside the entrance of Northcliffe House, in Kensington, west London, at 6.40am on Sunday and also targeted the offices of the Daily Telegraph at Victoria.
The environmental group said in a statement it wants to send a message to “the 4 billionaire owners of 68 per cent of the UK’s print media” and is demanding “an end to media corruption that suppresses the truth from the public for profit.” Protesters left signs behind saying “cut the crap” and “free the press”.
Police said five people were arrested in Kensington for an offence under section 148 of the Highways Act 1980, which is punishable with a fine. Four of the five were also arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage.
A 54-year-old man was also stopped by police as he attempted to empty manure from a truck onto the pavement near the Telegraph’s offices in Buckingham Palace Road, Victoria. “Had he succeeded, it would have caused disruption to employees and members of the public,” the Metropolitan Police said in a statement. He was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving.
XR later posted a video of a small number of activists spraying paint on the News Corp building at London Bridge before they too were detained by police.
The protest was one of several different demonstrations to sweep the capital over the weekend.
On Saturday anti-lockdown protesters threw tennis balls at Parliament and Downing Street and also let off flares.
Protesters, many not wearing masks, carried placards bearing anti-vaccine and anti-restrictions messages, while others waved flags.
Meanwhile, in a separate action, the People’s Assembly, an anti-austerity group, held a demonstration against the government, which included criticism of a range of issues including the controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
Images and videos shared on social media by Extinction Rebellion showed people marching through London and speeches in Parliament Square, including from former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Other protesters sharing images on social media appeared to be marching for causes including the rights of Palestinians and trans people.
Three people were arrested during the protests for breach of the peace, assault on police and an individual who was already wanted for a previous assault.
On Sunday the Save Our Scene group held a “Freedom To Dance” march from Regent Street to Parliament Square in protest at the government’s treatment of the live music industry during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a post on Instagram, the group said: “We are demanding that the government lift all restrictions on the music & hospitality sector without any further delay.”
At the end of Sunday’s demonstrations, the Met Police confirmed that a total of 23 people had been arrested “as a result of the proactive operation”.