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Climate Activists Halt World Cycling Race - 5 Arrested - 1 ‘Cemented Hand to the Road’

By Mara Lafontaine · August 7, 2023

In brief…

  • Climate demonstrators caused a 55-minute delay this weekend at the UCI World Cycling Championships in Scotland.
  • At least one protester glued his hand to the road.
  • Activist group "This Is Rigged" protested against chemical manufacturing giant INEOS's sponsorship of the cycling event.
  • Climate activists claim INEOS is Scotland’s largest polluter and said its sponsorship of the cycling event is an example of "greenwashing."
  • Scotland's transport spokesman, Graham Simpson, chided protestors for targeting an eco-friendly event like cycling.
  • Scottish police arrested five protestors, noting that climate demonstrators have become a common feature at events in Scotland.
UCI World Cycling Championship was scene of environmental protest. On demonstrator cemented his hand to the road, stopping the event for 55-minutes  John Seb Barber from Leeds UK /CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A climate protester delayed the Men’s UCI World Cycling Championship in Scotland by gluing has hand to the pavement. The incident halted the elite men’s race for 55-minutes. Activist group This Is Rigged, known for their vehement stance against the oil and gas industry, claimed responsibility for the disruption.

The protesters blocked the road near Bonnybridge and Lennoxtown, forcing a nine-rider breakaway and the main peloton to stop. According to GCN-Eurosport commentator Adam Blythe, at least one activist “cemented their hand to the road.”

A 21-year-old protester named Cat said in a statement, “The fact that Ineos has been allowed to sponsor a team in the race around the Campsie Fells - which were engulfed in wildfires last month - is a disgrace and an insult to the both cycling community and the people of Scotland… We cannot continue with business as usual while our country burns and our futures are ruined. Time is of the essence, and we need to act like it.”

Cat added: “We cannot continue with business as usual while our country burns and our futures are ruined. Time is of the essence and we need to act like it. The Scottish government must stand up to Westminster and oppose all new oil and gas, and implement a fair transition now.”

It took over 30 minutes for police to remove the protesters and clear the road. After a 50-minute neutralization, the race restarted with the groups resuming their time gaps from before the stoppage.

Ineos, the world’s fourth-largest chemical company and, say climate activists, Scotland’s biggest polluter, is, according to its website, “a global manufacturer of petrochemicals, specialty chemicals, and oil products… Comprising 36 individual businesses, [Ineos] operates 194 facilities in 29 countries throughout the world.” Ineos has faced many accusations of “greenwashing” by supporting environmentally-friendly events like today’s UCI race.

Graham Simpson, Scotland’s transport spokesperson, noted the paradox in targeting an eco-friendly event like cycling and said, “This was a dangerous act of disruption, which put both the protesters and athletes in this race at risk. It’s utterly nonsensical for a group which claims to stand for environmental protection to target an event promoting active, green travel like cycling - and raises a huge question mark about this publicity-seeking group’s true motives.”

The Scottish police were not caught completely off guard, as demonstrations by climate activists have become a regular occurrence at many regional events. A spokesperson for the local police department said, “Our Protest Removal Team has safely removed and arrested five protestors.”