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Climate activists interrupt US Open – and glue their shoes to the ground

Climate activists have interrupted the women’s semi-final at the US Open.

The protesters were wearing shirts that said End Fossil Fuels – and began causing disruption from the stands at the start of the second set.

At least one demonstrator had glued their shoes to the ground, making them harder to remove.

Pic: AP

They appeared to be from the Extinction Rebellion group – and fans began to cheer as police officers arrived to take them away.


The protest – one of many to target sporting events in recent months – delayed the showdown between Coco Gauff and Karolina Muchova at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.

Coco Gauff, of the United States, reacts to a disruption in play against Karolina Muchova, of the Czech Republic, during the women's singles semifinals of the U.S. Open tennis championships, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Coco Gauff reacts as play is disrupted. Pic: AP

Gauff initially sat on the sidelines and ate fruit from a plastic container while waiting for play to resume, and hit a few practice serves before heading to the locker room with her opponent.

It took more than 35 minutes for the protesters to be removed, and play was suspended for the best part of an hour.

An advisory about a disruption in play is displayed on the large screen inside Arthur Ashe Stadium during play between Karolina Muchova, of the Czech Republic, and Coco Gauff, of the United States, during the women's singles semifinals of the U.S. Open tennis championships, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Back in July, two matches were interrupted at Wimbledon after environmental activists jumped out of the stands at an outside court and scattered orange confetti and jigsaw pieces on the grass.

Protests have also taken place at The British Open golf championship, The Ashes, and the World Snooker Championship.

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Just Stop Oil disrupt The Open

Sports stars have previously said such interruptions can be unnerving.

After her Wimbledon match was affected, British No 1 Katie Boulter said it was “a shock to the system” and “a really unfortunate situation for everyone”.

Just Stop Oil and similar groups have divided opinion with their tactics, but the activists behind the high-profile protests have struck a defiant tone.

A protester on court 18 throwing confetti on to the grass during Katie Boulter’s first-round match against Daria Saville on day three of the 2023 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon. Picture date: Wednesday July 5, 2023.

One retired teacher who interrupted Wimbledon said at the time: “Forget strawberries and cream, scientists are warning of impending food shortages, mass displacement and war.

“This is a crisis and it needs a crisis response.”


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