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American Thinker
American Thinker
9 Sep 2023
Milli Sands

NextImg:What to do when protesters glue themselves to things?

Depending on how long it lasts, our time may be known as the Adhesive-Based Protest Epoch(sy).

Glue-ins began in 1997, when anti-roadway protesters in the U.K. began using tactics like locking themselves together using arm tubes or gluing themselves to walls and fences.

Following that event:

In 1999, climate activist group Earth First! pioneered "lock-ons," where protesters use bicycle locks or other devices to chain themselves together into human blockades.

Throughout the 2000s, environmental groups like Earth First! and later Extinction Rebellion began using more adhesive tactics.

In 2009, Greenpeace activists climbed Mount Rushmore and unfurled a banner after gluing their hands to the mountain.

In 2011, Occupy Wall Street protesters glued bricks to the floor in strategic places to make it harder to remove encampments.

In 2014, animal rights group PETA's supporters famously glued themselves to the floor of a grocery store in Italy to protest meat products.

The use of strong adhesive tactics escalated significantly starting around 2020, especially with groups like Insulate Britain and Just Stop Oil pioneering disruptive glue-ins on roadways, famous artworks, and more.

Twenty twenty-two was a busy year:

In October 2022, two climate activists glued themselves to John Constable's "The Hay Wain" painting in the National Gallery in London.

In July 2022, a group called Just Stop Oil glued themselves to the frame of Raphael's "The Madonna of the Pinks" at the National Gallery.

In April 2022, climate activists glued themselves to the speaker's chair in the U.K. House of Commons.

In March 2022, a group glued themselves to the floor below Picasso's "Massacre in Korea" painting at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.

In February 2022, protesters glued themselves to the NFL field during the Los Angeles Rams' Super Bowl victory ceremony.

And on September 7, 2023, the U.S. Open was hit...

Coco Gauff's U.S. Open semifinal victory over Karolina Muchova was delayed by 50 minutes because of a disruption by four environmental activists in the Arthur Ashe Stadium stands Thursday night. One protester glued his bare feet to the concrete floor.


In September 2022, climate activist Laura Vherzan glued herself to the court at the US Open tennis championships during a quarterfinal match between Novak Djokovic and Matteo Berrettini. She wore a shirt that read "End Fossil Fuels Now." Play was delayed for several minutes while security unglued her and removed her from the court.

In all of the instances cited, one way or another, the protesters were removed.


Is there a duty to "rescue" them?  (Especially from themselves?)

In general, no.  There is generally no broad legal duty in the United States requiring strangers to rescue one another.  However, there are some exceptions and nuances, none of which seems applicable to these protesters: about a duty to remove?

Generally, there is no absolute legal requirement mandating that glued or attached protesters must be forcibly removed in all situations.  However, authorities do have significant discretion to remove criminal trespassers or those violating reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on speech.  Some key considerations:

In summary, while removal is not absolutely mandated in all cases, authorities do generally have discretion to unglue and arrest significantly disruptive, dangerous, or trespassing protesters after weighing many factors.

And in removing persons, the removers face some liability to the removees if not done properly.

So why bother removing them?  It is discretionary.

I say let them sit or stand or whatever where they have chosen to be stuck.

Feed them occasionally.  Let them relieve themselves in either their pants, skirts, skorts, etc. or in a bedpan.

In the case of an art gallery, heck, let 'em sit, and either close the gallery or label them a new installation of performance art.  Or just cover them up.

They chose to get stuck.  It is not the legal responsibility of others to unstick them.

Do these enough times, and it will stop Stop Oil Now and its ilk.

Image: Matt M. via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0 (cropped).