Meet the ragtag band of eco activists who attempted to blockade free speech ...

One is a former paratrooper, another a 22-year-old ‘birth-striker’ who vows she will never have children for the sake of the planet.

They were among the ragtag – and rather middle-class – band of printworks rebels who attempted to blockade free speech on Friday night.

Others included a failed would-be MP (who notably works for the Independent news website) and a retired taxman. All eight featured here marched on newspaper printers to impose their views and suppress all others.

Extinction Rebellion’s protests led to a night of chaos and 81 arrests in Knowsley, Merseyside, and Broxbourne, Hertfordshire.

Almost 80 people were charged yesterday but currently none faces prison sentences of more than three months if convicted. 

Student activist Katie Ritchie-Moulin was among the ragtag ¿ and rather middle-class ¿ band of printworks rebels who attempted to blockade free speech by trying to halt several major national newspapers from going to print on Friday night

Student activist Katie Ritchie-Moulin was among the ragtag – and rather middle-class – band of printworks rebels who attempted to blockade free speech by trying to halt several major national newspapers from going to print on Friday night

1. Katie Ritchie-Moulin, 21

A veteran of direct action climate protests, the student grew up in a prosperous Birmingham suburb.

Her psychologist father Lawrence Moulin, 63, has overseen mental health policies across the West Midlands while her mother, Fiona Ritchie, 55, has a health and social care consultancy with experience of managing multi-million pound budgets.

Miss Ritchie-Moulin was pictured chained to railings outside Leeds Civic Hall in January with a bike lock around her neck and a placard reading ‘Airport expansion is ecocide!’ in an Extinction Rebellion ‘die-in’ against plans to expand Leeds-Bradford Airport.

At the time Miss Ritchie-Moulin, who is studying medical science at the University of Leeds, admitted feeling ‘very cold’ and agreed that chaining herself to railings could be seen as drastic. But she insisted expanding the airport would be ‘pretty drastic too’.

There was no one home yesterday at the family’s £730,000 three-storey red brick house in the wealthy suburb of Moseley. She was charged with aggravated trespass over the blockade in Knowsley.

2. Donnachadh McCarthy, 61

Former Parliamentary candidate and Independent columnist Donnachadh McCarthy

Former Parliamentary candidate and Independent columnist Donnachadh McCarthy

The deputy chairman of the Liberal Democrats from 2000 to 2003 stood unsuccessfully against Labour’s Harriet Harman as an MP in Peckham in 2001.

He attended the Broxbourne protest as a ‘spokesman’ for XR, and is not believed to have been among those arrested.

Originally from Cork, he told the Mail he works as an eco-auditor who helps businesses be more environmentally friendly. He said: ‘We wanted people to wake up on Saturday morning and go to buy their paper and ask, “Why isn’t it here?” They may be angry, but in a few weeks’ time they may start paying attention to the warnings.

‘We don’t want to be arrested, most of the people are lovely people. The police say they love coming to our protests because there’s never trouble.’

Mr McCarthy was arrested during the Occupy London protests in 2014. He claims his house in Camberwell was London’s first carbon-negative home, with solar hot water and electricity, a wind turbine and a rain-harvester.

He is also notably a columnist for the Independent news website, where he writes about environmental issues and planning policy.

3. Lydia Dibben, 22

Student Lydia Dibben with a bike D-lock around her neck at an XR protest

Student Lydia Dibben with a bike D-lock around her neck at an XR protest

The student from Surrey is a self-declared ‘birth-striker’, saying she will never have children for the sake of the environment.

She vowed at a rally last year: ‘How could I bring up a child in a world that doesn’t care about their future? I declare that I will not bear children, but I will continue the fight for climate justice, and hope that our actions will improve the future for all the children, of every species, that are already living on this beautiful planet.’

Expressing her support for ‘mass, non-violent, civil disobedience’, the red-haired Leeds University zoology student said her objective was ‘to wake up the passive masses that are sleep-walking towards extinction’.

When she joined Extinction Rebellion, her mother Stefanie posted online: ‘I can’t express how proud of her I am.’

Miss Dibben lives with her mother and jewellery designer father Jon, 53, in a £350,000 house in a village near Horsham. She was charged with aggravated trespass over the blockade in Knowsley.

4. Gully Bujak, 27

A self-styled ‘actress, model and extra’, she was seen sprawled on a blow-up mattress atop a bus during the Hertfordshire protest.

When she was arrested and led away by a WPC, she gushed about her ‘extraordinary’ fellow protesters as if they were cast members in a hit West End show.

The activist said: ‘The climate emergency is an existential threat to humanity. Instead of publishing this on the front page every day as it deserves, much of our media ignores the issue and some actively sow seeds of climate denial.

'To these papers we say this: you will not come between us anymore.’

5. Robert Possnett, 58

Former Paratrooper Robert Possnett calls himself a ¿literary snob and real ale lover¿

Former Paratrooper Robert Possnett calls himself a ‘literary snob and real ale lover’

The former Paratrooper loves beer, good books – and causing disruption. Mr Possnett describes himself as a ‘literary snob and real ale lover’ on social media and boasted on Twitter of joining Friday night’s protest at the Broxbourne plant.

He has previously been convicted over his attendance at an XR protest.

Yesterday one of his sons told the Mail that he was a ‘very passionate climate change protester’.

The family live in a large chalet-style home in leafy Great Barton, near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. The property is full of books with the windows used as bookshelves.

One neighbour said: ‘Robert’s been campaigning for a long time now. He’s a lovely bloke who loves his beer but I’m sure a few people round here were upset this morning when they could not get their newspapers.’

6. Jon Fuller, 62

An ex-civil servant at HM Revenue and Customs, he is a veteran campaigner who was arrested by the pink boat in Oxford Circus in last year’s Extinction Rebellion protests.

He stood for Parliament as a Green Party candidate in Southend in 2015, coming fifth.

At Broxbourne, he told the Mail: ‘We beg the media to now tell the truth. We’re out of time.’

7. Donald Bell, 64

Former infantryman Donald Bell

Former infantryman Donald Bell

As a young infantryman in the British Army, he was hit by shrapnel from an IRA car bomb that killed two other soldiers in Stewartstown in 1974.

Mr Bell completed four tours of duty with the Royal Anglican Regiment.

These days, he is fighting climate change.

In February, he was seen digging up the lawn at Cambridge’s Trinity College and was later arrested after gluing himself to a police van, telling reporters he had been writing letters to the Government for nearly 50 years but was always ignored.

He said: ‘We had to be more disruptive. I just felt compelled to do something for my children and grandchildren.’

8. Richard Hallewell, 49

The father of four from Thurston, Suffolk, is the director of two tech companies including a software firm.

He held the banner that blocked the road at Broxbourne, and said: ‘We have tried all the nice things, we have written to our MPs, we have done all those things and nothing happens.’

Tech company director and father of four Richard Hallewell

Tech company director and father of four Richard Hallewell

Eco zealots could face FIVE YEARS in jail: Priti Patel threatens to change law to make Extinction Rebellion a criminal gang so tougher sentences can be handed out

ByJason Groves Political Editor For The Daily Mail 

Extinction Rebellion protesters who attack our way of life should face jail, Priti Patel warns today.

The Home Secretary has ordered a review of the law aimed at toughening sentences for the environmental extremists after they blockaded newspaper print works in a bid to stifle free speech.

Options being considered include designating the group as an organised crime gang, which would leave militants open to the threat of up to five years in jail.

Writing in the Daily Mail today, Miss Patel says the activists should ‘face the full force of the law’ for pursuing ‘guerrilla tactics... that seek to undermine and cause damage to our society’.

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Around 100 protesters who targeted Newsprinters printing works at Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, and Knowsley, near Liverpool, in a bid to stifle free speech have been warned they could face jail time after a change to the law is mooted

Around 100 protesters who targeted Newsprinters printing works at Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, and Knowsley, near Liverpool, in a bid to stifle free speech have been warned they could face jail time after a change to the law is mooted

Home Secretary Priti Patel has ordered a review of the law aimed at toughening sentences for the environmental extremists

Home Secretary Priti Patel has ordered a review of the law aimed at toughening sentences for the environmental extremists

One of the protesters from the bamboo lock-ons is lead away by a police officer outside the Newsprinters printing works at Broxbourne, Hertfordshire

One of the protesters from the bamboo lock-ons is lead away by a police officer outside the Newsprinters printing works at Broxbourne, Hertfordshire

She adds: ‘I am committed to ensuring that the police have powers required to tackle the disruption caused by groups such as Extinction Rebellion. 

'We must defend ourselves against this attack on capitalism, our way of life and ultimately our freedoms.’

A Home Office source confirmed that Miss Patel wants to see harsher sentences against the ringleaders of a group whose actions seem designed to maximise economic damage and disruption.

‘We want to see some people banged up instead of escaping with a fine they can pay from their trust fund,’ the source said. 

Extinction Rebellion protestors block access of a printing house in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, leaving some newsagents' shelves empty on Saturday morning

Extinction Rebellion protestors block access of a printing house in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, leaving some newsagents' shelves empty on Saturday morning

'Friday

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