Flotilla against the UN

By Andy Bichlbaum on Sep 22 2009 - 11:02pm Tagged: Project: Balls Across America

20 Survivaballs were deployed along the coast of the East River in New York City on the eve of a critical climate meeting at the United Nations.

Unfortunately, not all of the proper permits were solicited beforehand to the relevant city authorities, and the product demonstration was cut short before the Survivaballs were able to demonstrate their aquatic multi-functionality. Minutes after the balls began wading into the water, law enforcement swooped in on the protesters by land, sea, and air. In order not to harm their attackers, the balls admitted defeat and waddled out of the water and off the beach.

Luckily for potential customers, and those world leaders meeting upriver at the UN to discuss an international treaty on climate change mitigation, the "Balls Across America" campaign was covered extensively in a hilarious prime-time spot on CNN, and in media around the world.

"In general we Yes Men hope our actions aren't dependent on police misconduct to make them a success," said Andy Bichlbaum, who had been handcuffed and sent off to a twenty-four hour bout of R&R at "the Tombs" in lower Manhattan. (He'd been snagged for an unpaid bicycle ticket. That part was OK—but the police misconduct wasn't.) "With 'Balls Across America,' our goal is to get arrested fair and square, all across this fair land of ours," said Yes Men co-founder Mike Bonanno. "It's a great way to get attention for a crucial issue."

Despite the snafu with law enforcement, the launch was a major success. In ensuing months Survivaballs were spotted at hot spots around the world, from a G20 meeting in Pittsburgh to the crucial climate meetings in Copenhagen, and beyond.

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