The Yes Men Launch "Balls Across America"
On September 21st, with the help of over 2000 volunteers, the activist group The Yes Men distributed a fake edition of the New York Post displaying a headline of "We're Screwed" and reporting on the perils of climate change. On The Yes Men's website it states, "Although the 32-page New York Post is a fake, everything in it is 100% true, with all facts carefully checked by a team of editors and climate change experts". The edition is not all doom and gloom, with an article describing New York's postive efforts in the climate battle. To see the fake edition of the post click here.
The following day The Yes Men took to the East River to kick off their "Balls Across America", a series of civil disobedience actions raising awareness about climate change. Twenty-two activists dressed in large inflatable suits called "Survivaballs" gathered in the water, as The Yes Men announced that they were going to take the UN by sea since the land routes were blocked. The group claimed that once they reached the UN they would, "use the Survivaballs to blockade the negotiations and refuse to let world leaders leave the room until they'd agreed on sweeping cuts in greenhouse gas emissions". Within minutes of the balls entering the water, law enforcement emerged by land, sea and air. The balls accepted their defeat and began wading out of the water.
Seven of the group members were given tickets for trespassing, but one of the co-founders of The Yes Men, Andy Bichlbaum, was taken into NYC central processing because of an unpaid ticket for riding a bicycle through Washington Square Park. Bichlbaum was released after 26 hours when the charges against him were dismissed. The officer who filed the arrest had lied when filling out paperwork, claiming that he had seen Bichlbaum jump a fence, which would have been impossible considering the time-line of when the police showed up. This event marked just one more success for The Yes Men during their New York City push. Bichlbaum said about his arrest and dismissal, "I'm really happy it turned out as it did. But I hope we can help expose the systemic and nefarious culture of lying within the NYPD, that has had the effect of criminalizing protest in New York City."
For more information about the arrest, click here.