Is there a cause you care enough about to superglue yourself for? In the United Kingdom, there’s a growing trend of environmental activists who are willingly gluing themselves to objects – and each other – to solidify their position and advance their message.
Talk about sticking your body in the line of fire. The glue makes it significantly more difficult for local authorities to remove protesters, thus prolonging the action. Here are five occasions that UK activists pasted themselves for their principles:
1. This past week, two British women superglued themselves to a car that they had strategically parked to block the entryway to a drilling site. For three full hours, they managed to impede fracking trucks from entering and departing the location as police worked to extract the glued women from the car and then have it towed.
While glue may seem extreme, according to fellow protester Mandy Roundhouse, the women turned to the adhesive only after exhausting other measures. “They have done letter-writing, they have gone on marches, they have tried all the other means and nothing is working so they have had to resort to this,” she said.
2. In 2009, members of a group of protesters who called themselves “Camp for Climate Change” superglued themselves to the trading floor of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s London headquarters. Though the glue presumably helped to prolong the action, police were aggressive in protecting the bank, harshly removing protesters – both glued and unglued – from the premises.
Activists conducted the demonstrate to voice their displeasure with the Royal Bank of Scotland’s fossil fuel and coal investments. One protester told the media, “RBS is 70% owned by the public, but it is completely against the public interest for our money to be used to fund climate change. Yet again, the banks are putting profit over people.”
3. Five years into the controversial Iraq War, political leaders continued to champion the warfare as a “remarkable victory.” Many in the UK didn’t agree with this sanitized perspective, however, prompting eight such dissenters to superglue themselves to the doorways of a weapons factory.
“This is part of an ongoing campaign by us to ask people who work at the factory what has come out of five years of invasion and occupation in Iraq. It certainly hasn’t benefited the people of Iraq, who will have been left completely traumatized by five years of conflict,” said Tom Hayes, one of the protesters.
The protesters accused the factory of being complicit in war crimes for providing the equipment necessary to wage an unjust war. Accordingly, they made it their goal to muck up the factory’s operations for nearly an entire day as police tried to figure out how to detach them safely.
4. This past August, six activists used superglue to firmly attach themselves to the glass doors of the Bell Pottinger headquarters. The protesters chose this location because the PR firm represents Cuadrilla Resources, an energy company bringing fracking to the UK.
The half-dozen activists chanted “Bell Pottinger, shame on you!” for a few hours. Though police did eventually remove the activists – as well as a similar group that was protesting at the Cuadrilla building simultaneously – blocking the front entrance certainly disrupted business as usual in the interim.
5. That wasn’t the only sticky protest against Cuadrilla last summer – a celebrity of sorts also glued her body to demonstrate against fracking. Natalie Hynde, the daughter of The Pretenders’s Chrissie Hyndes and The Kinks’s Ray Davies, glued her hands to her boyfriend’s to create a human chain around a fence at a fracking site.
Ultimately, authorities were able to unclasp the duo and haul them away in a police car. After a week of protesting, it was clear that the police were serving the private interests since they worked overtime to keep the fracking company drilling as close to on schedule as possible.
Will the tactic make the leap and become more commonplace with eco-activists in the United States? It seems so! This past week, eight young American protesters superglued their hands together at the Transcor office in Westborough, Massachusetts to oppose the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The fire department was called to help remove the superglue, but ultimately some of them had to be transported to the police station still chained together.