Stonehenge monument sprayed orange in UK climate protest

Published June 20, 2024
AN image grab from a video released by the Just Stop Oil climate campaign group shows activists spraying an orange substance at Stonehenge, on Wednesday.—AFP
AN image grab from a video released by the Just Stop Oil climate campaign group shows activists spraying an orange substance at Stonehenge, on Wednesday.—AFP

LONDON: UK police arrested two people on Wednesday after environmental activists sprayed an orange substance on Stonehenge, the renowned prehistoric Unesco world heritage site in southwest England.

The Just Stop Oil protest group said two activists had “decorated Stonehenge in orange powder paint” to demand that Britain’s next government legally commit to phasing out fossil fuels by 2030.

Footage posted on social media showed activists, wearing “Just Stop Oil” branded T-shirts, spraying a cluster of the megalithic standing stones with the orange substance from a small canister. The group said Niamh Lynch, a 21-year-old student, and Rajan Naidu, 73, had used “orange cornflour” for the stunt.

It claimed the substance would “soon wash away with the rain”. English Heritage, the public body which manages the site, said its experts were probing “the extent of the damage” to the circle of stones some of which are believed to date back 5,000 years.

Wiltshire Police said in a statement that it had arrested two people following the incident. “Officers attended the scene and arrested two people on suspicion of damaging the ancient monument,” the force added. “Our inquiries are ongoing and we are working closely with English Heritage.”

Footage of the stunt showed several people trying to restrain the pair as they sprayed the standing stones, before the duo stopped and remained sat on the ground.

An English Heritage spokeswoman called the protest action “extremely upsetting” but noted the site remained open to the public. “Our curators are investigating the extent of the damage,” she said.

The incident comes in the middle of the campaign for a general election on July 4. It drew condemnation from the leaders of Britain’s main political parties.

Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2024

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