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Activist who attempted to glue herself to NBA court once led protests in Petaluma

The Bay Area native who attempted to glue herself to an NBA basketball court Tuesday has led numerous campaigns against Sonoma County farmers, including those in Petaluma’s rural outskirts.

Alicia Santurio, a longtime animal rights activist with the grassroots group Direct Action Everywhere, was escorted out of the Target Center in Minneapolis, and was handed a one-year ban from the facility after attempting to superglue her hand to the Timberwolves’ home court.

The attention-grabbing stunt, during a free throw in the second quarter of Clippers-Wolves game, temporarily stopped play Tuesday.

The move coincided with her team’s release of an investigation into Rembrandt Enterprises, an Iowa factory farm company owned by Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. The farms recently experienced a major avian influenza outbreak, which prompted them to put more than 5 million chickens to death and prompted layoffs for more than 100 employees.

“Unfortunately, we know that we release these investigations all the time and a lot of times an investigation by itself is not going to get people talking about the issue enough,” Santurio said in a Thursday afternoon phone interview. “So we have to use other tactics that will draw more attention to the issue.”

It was just the latest sticky situation for Santurio, who hails from a family of activists and has fought for years to bring greater attention to the rights of animals.

Santurio, who also founded the group Bay Area Animal Save, has for years been involved in animal rights efforts, making headlines for protests including large-scale demonstrations at three Petaluma poultry farms in 2018 that led to the arrests of dozens of protesters, including herself. Both Santurio, and her father, Hector Santurio, have been arrested in connection with past demonstrations in the rural outskirts of Petaluma.

Santurio said she’s loved animals her whole life, which drove her to become vegetarian at a young age. Now, she said she hopes her legacy as “Glue Girl” will drive momentum to end current practices at meat facilities and transition to a more “just food system.”

That’s where the Tuesday night incident came into play. When asked why she chose to use superglue in particular to get her message across, Santurio cited its novelty.

“Over the years people will do things with fake blood or run out with a banner, and it’s just been done so many times and it’s not exciting enough,” she said. “We thought this might really be something that gets enough people talking about it, and then people start looking into the issue and looking into the work we do and hopefully raising awareness on helping the animals.”

Santurio said when the time finally came to make her statement, getting access to the court was easier than she expected.

“I was kind of just watching all of the security guards around the court and figuring out when would be the best time and who seems like they’re going to be the easiest to walk by,” she said.

Santurio said she had to make sure the timing was perfect, picking a spot opposite of where the players were located, not just for attention purposes but to make sure no one would get injured as a result.

“I just walked with confidence like I was supposed to be there and just walked right on by and nobody stopped me,” Santurio said with a laugh. “If you act like you belong there, sometimes people think you do, at least for a good 30 seconds.”

But before she had a chance to let the glue set, Santurio was escorted off the court by security and is now banned from the property for one year, facing misdemeanor charges if she should return before then.

“I thought I was going to get arrested, so I was prepared to spend a night in jail. It’s never fun in jail,” she said in appreciation of the Timberwolves officials.

The Minnesota Timberwolves organization and Rembrandt Enterprises did not immediately return requests for comment.

Amelia Parreira is a staff writer for the Argus-Courier. She can be reached at amelia.parreira@arguscourier.com or 707-521-5208.

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