Friday, 8 September 2023

Climate activist glues bare feet to cement as protesters disrupt US Open for nearly an hour

 A U.S. Open semifinal match was disrupted for almost an hour by climate activists who shouted in protest while one of the offenders even glued his feet to the cement floor in the stands.

During a women's tennis match between American Coco Gauff and Czech Karolina Muchová, climate activists from Extinction Rebellion began shouting and put a halt to the second set of the match. 

Players and fans alike at Ashe Stadium in New York City turned to see the commotion as more than a dozen police officers arrived to remove three climate protesters, the Guardian reported.

The activists were pictured wearing shirts that read “End Fossil Fuels.”

Another protester was handcuffed by police, but he appeared to have glued his bare feet to the cement floor of the stadium's stands.

Police had to wait for paramedics to arrive before the activist could be removed.

Gauff asked match officials why they were "negotiating" with the protesters, according to the Daily Wire. Her coach even reportedly shouted, "This is a joke," as the crowd booed and chanted, "You suck!" 

The stunt caused a 49-minute delay, with the tennis players retreating to the dressing rooms to wait until the activists were cleared. 

“It was a bit challenging, because, you know, it’s not like a typical delay,” Gauff later said, according to ESPN. “But, you know, it’s life. It happens. So I just try my best to keep the momentum that I had going from winning the first set and the first game.”

The player then seemed to somewhat excuse the protest and stated, "I always speak about preaching about what you feel and what you believe in,” she explained. “It was done in a peaceful way, so I can’t get too mad at it. Obviously I don’t want it to happen when I’m winning, up 6-4, 1-0, and I wanted the momentum to keep going. But hey, if that’s what they felt they needed to do to get their voices heard, I can’t really get upset at it.”

Extinction Rebellion claimed responsibility for the disruption and later made generic claims about the climate.

“The climate is already more disruptive than any activists can possibly be,” said a spokesperson. “Just look at the U.S. Open and other big tennis events – year after year, the average temperatures have been rising, making it hotter and more dangerous for the players and spectators."

“At some point, there will be fewer outdoor sporting events due to excessive heat," the spokesperson added.

Tournament Director Stacey Allaster also commented and said that “security will be resuming along with NYPD to see what else we can do to prevent it in the future.”

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