Environmental protests : Glue Sticks! Green groups have become experts at paralysing infrastructure.

GLUEING YOURSELF to a motorway is a good way to protest, explains a facilitator for Extinction Rebellion, an environmental
group, during an online training session.

So is locking onto a building or climbing a structure of bamboo poles.

All are time-consuming to deal with safely. '' It keeps us there, longer, in the public eye, '' the facilitator says.

Extinction Rebellion became well known in April 2019, when thousands of demonstrators blocked bridges and roads. The group hopes to repeat that performance with a three-day demonstration in central London.

But its techniques, and those of other environmental activists, are changing.

Using lots of bodies to block roads has become more difficult. The Covid-19 pandemic curtailed parge protests, and Extinction Rebellion's followings may have diminished, says Graeme Hayes of Aston University - though he adds that the upcoming demonstrations could reverse that.

Smaller groups, such as Insulate Britain, have shown the disruptive potential of ''glueing-on'' and tunneling under construction projects.

The goal of all such tactics is to agitate the public, which will then [in theory] nudge politicians to pursue ambitious policies.

Extinction Rebellion's initial protests may have drawn people's attention to climate change. But more drastic actions might be too irritating.

More than a third of Britons say policing of public demonstrations is bot strict enough. A new bill would criminalize locking on or obstructing major transport works, or even carrying equipment to do such things.

Environmental protests certainly make building and running infrastructure harder.

In July, authorities closed part of the M25 motorway for six hours to remove protesters from the gantries.

John Groves, the chief security and resilience officer for the HS2 railway, told lawmakers in June that  protesters had cost the project Pounds 126 million [ $ 147 million] in delays, mostly by tunneling under the route.

Extinction Rebellion promises shown tactics to cap off the London protest. New joiners should leave promptly, the group says, unless they fancy being arrested.

The World Students Society thanks The Economist.


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