Climate crisis antics at the U.S. Open led to criminal trespass charges and a trip to the psych ward for one said to have glued his feet to the floor.
Protests from doomsayer green zealots have grown increasingly more common as anti-oil messengers in the guise of eco-activists have routinely made spectacles of themselves affixed to highways or art exhibits. On Thursday in Flushing, Queens as the women’s singles semifinal match between Coco Gauff and Karolina Muchova entered its second set, a nearly hour-long delay was caused by a quartet of environmental alarmists.
Video from within Arthur Ashe Stadium showed as the tennis match was disrupted by the protesters adorned in “END FOSSIL FUELS” t-shirts as they shouted, “If we don’t disrupt, climate change will!” only to be met with a chorus of boos from the New York crowd that began their own chant, “Kick them out!”
Eco zealot Sayak Mukhopadhyay who glued himself to US Open stadium ground admits backlash was the INTENT of his stunt and invites Coco Gauff to his next protest pic.twitter.com/l351ihSgB3
— SHO’NUFF (@IAMSHO_NUFF) September 9, 2023
According to Fox News, two of the protesters, identified as Gregory Schwedock, 35 and Shayok Mukhopadhyay, 50 were arrested over their disruption, and the latter was charged with disorderly conduct for adhering his bare feet to the floor.
— Marvis (@marvelou5marvis) September 8, 2023
The process of his removal from the stands extended the delay to the match to a total of 49 minutes, but Mukhopadhyay too was escorted out and transported to nearby East Elmhurst Hospital.
— Molly McElwee (@molly_mcelwee) September 8, 2023
While it was unclear who the other protesters were, the 50-year-old from White Plains, New York spoke with the New York Daily News and told of his experience in custody.
“I’ve been arrested before, but I’ve never had this experience. They were asking obvious leading questions like, ‘Do you think the world is going to end?’ This typical stereotype of the crazy, apocalyptic cult kind of thing,” he lamented.
After being taken to the 111th Precinct police station where he was kept for several hours before being dismissed with a ticket, the protester alleged, ‘This was completely a mechanism to intimidate and humiliate and to paint a distorted picture of me.”
The member of the activist group Extinction Rebellion, which later took credit for the disruption, argued that the authorities were attempting to discredit him with efforts to have him placed in a psych ward and he argued to the Daily News, “Who’s the crazy person here? It’s [President Joe] Biden who’s the crazy person here, who, in 2023, is approving new oil and gas projects when international energy agencies founded by Henry Kissinger — not tree hugger — have said there should be no new fossil fuel infrastructure.”
In their own statement on the protest, Extinction Rebellion, which had openly planned to conduct disruptions like this across the United States earlier this year, said, “Today’s action highlights the neglect of the climate and ecological breakdown by governments and corporations. The group emphasizes that the present socioeconomic system can’t protect people from the crises to come because its very structure creates these crises and then ignores them.”
“The extremely short-term incentives of our key institutions — corporations and government, which respectively function on quarterly profits and periodic elections, disregard the long-term dangers to our survival,” furthered the doomsayers. “This system is committed to stealing from future generations to sustain a lifestyle that primarily benefits the few (the so-called ‘one percent’).”
In August, other activists representing Climate Defiance had interrupted a match at the Citi Open which shares funding sources with Extinction Rebellion from the Climate Emergency Fund, a nonprofit backed by the likes of Abigail Disney and oil heiress Aileen Getty.
— BizPac Review (@BIZPACReview) August 10, 2023
Gauff, who went on to win the match 6-4, 7-5, reacted to the protest with support for the message and seemingly only upset that it had temporarily disrupted her victory. “Throughout history, moments like this are definitely defining moments. I believe, you know, in climate change,” she said during a post-match press conference.
“I don’t really know exactly what…they were protesting. I know it was about the environment,” she went on. “I 100 percent believe in that. I think there are things we can do better. Would I prefer it not happening in my match — 100 percent, yeah. I’m not going to sit here and lie.”
According to the Associated Press, in reaction to the protest the tournament heightened security with more uniformed and undercover officers present for the duration.
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