Stonehenge painted orange by Just Stop Oil protesters

Protesters sprayed a section of Stonehenge with orange paint on Wednesday, calling on the British government to take action on climate change a day before thousands are expected to visit the 5,000-year-old site in southern England to celebrate the summer solstice.

A Video shared on Wednesday By Just Stop Oil, an environmental activist group took over, showing two men running towards the monument and unwrapping the orange. Bystanders shouted “No” and “Stop him” as others tried to drag the protestors away.

In a statement, the group said, “We demand that our next government sign a legally binding agreement to phase out fossil fuels by 2030.” It said the paint was made from cornstarch and would wash off with rain. The protesters involved were identified as Niamh Lynch, 21, and Rajan Naidu, 73.

Local police said Both of them were arrested following this incident.

English Heritage, the charity that manages Stonehenge, said the site remains open. “Obviously, this is very upsetting and our curators are investigating the extent of the damage,” it said. Social media.

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British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak Tweeted Just Stop Oil was “a disgrace” after the incident. Opposition Leader Keir Starmer was also critical Mail “The damage done to Stonehenge is outrageous” and “those responsible should face the full force of the law”.

There have been many protests involving historical objects and art in recent years, with activists spraying paint, soup and other substances on artworks such as the Mona Lisa and Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”.Drawing attention to issues including the climate crisis – and prompting international appeals from museums to stop them.

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However, this week’s incident “seems to escalate a little bit,” said Shannon Gibson, a professor at the University of Southern California who studies global environmental politics and social movements. While previous incidents at museums have typically caused only surface-level damage to the protective cover of an artwork or historical object, the protesters at Stonehenge put paint directly on the famous UNESCO site. World Heritage Site.

Critics say such protests could alienate potential supporters of climate justice movements and create spectacle rather than effect change.

But Gibson said protest should be a spectacle — and protests reach individuals in places like museums and historic monuments. People who are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

“We don’t need to protest on islands, on beaches or in the Arctic – they get it, they know it, they live it,” he said. “It says to the people who hold the money, make the decisions and control fossil fuels: ‘This affects you too’.”

In targeting an archaic structure that people “can never change,” Gibson said, such protests are “a The similarity between what will stand the test of time and what won’t if we don’t solve the climate crisis.

The unique stone circle of Stonehenge was built 2500 BC To align with the movements of the Sun. On the summer solstice—the longest day of the year—thousands gather to watch the sunrise from a gap in the outer circle of stones.

UNESCO describes site “The World’s Most Architecturally Sophisticated Prehistoric Stone Circle.”

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