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Eco activists vandalize ancient UK landmark

Two people are under investigation after spraying Stonehenge with orange powder paint

Climate protesters have covered parts of Britain’s most famous prehistoric attraction, Stonehenge, with orange powder paint in the latest attack intended to draw attention to their cause. 

The activists, who were arrested shortly after the incident, have been released on bail pending further enquiries, Wiltshire Police said on Thursday.

On Wednesday, British group Just Stop Oil released footage showing two members using fire extinguishers to spray the orange substance onto at least three of the stones at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, parts of which are estimated be around 5,000 years old. Visitors were seen struggling with the campaigners, named by the group as Rajan Naidu, 73, and Niamh Lynch, 21, as they prepared to target the monument.

The act of vandalism came one day before thousands of spectators gathered at the stone circle to celebrate the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. 

According to the group, the move was carried out to urge the next UK government to end the extraction and burning of oil, gas, and coal by 2030. Just Stop Oil also said that the orange powder paint was corn flour, adding that it would “wash away with rain.”

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A portrait of King Charles III by artist Jonathan Yeo, covered with the face of animation character Wallace, Philip Mould Gallery, London.
King Charles portrait vandalized

On Thursday, English Heritage chief executive Dr. Nick Merriman told CNN there appeared to be “no visible damage” to the prehistoric landmark after experts cleaned the site following the attack.

Responding to the incident on X (formerly Twitter), British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the move, saying that “Just Stop Oil are a disgrace.”

Stonehenge is the latest prominent target for activists. Last month, protesters from the same group smashed the glass protecting the Magna Carta, a famous British manuscript from the 13th century, at the British Museum in London. Earlier this month, Animal Rising group pasted a cartoon image over a portrait of Britain’s King Charles III at a London gallery. 

Last year, Just Stop Oil activists threw tomato soup on Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’, while two others glued themselves to ‘Peach Trees in Blossom’ at the Courtauld Gallery in London, permanently damaging the piece.

June 21, 2024 at 02:48PM

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