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Art & Culture

Stonehenge Vandalised by Just Stop Oil Protesters Using Orange Powder Paint

  • Marilyn Walters
  • |
  • June 27, 2024
  • |
  • 3 minute read
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Stonehenge Vandalised by Just Stop Oil Protesters Using Orange Powder Paint

Two Just Stop Oil protesters sprayed orange powder paint on Stonehenge, disrupting preparations for the Summer Solstice.

They demand the end of fossil fuel use by 2030, and police have since arrested the protesters.

Key Takeaways
  • Just Stop Oil protesters sprayed orange powder paint on Stonehenge, leading to arrests and public outrage.
  • The protesters want the UK government to stop using oil, gas, and coal by 2030 to prevent environmental damage.
  • This incident sparked strong reactions from leaders, heritage organizations, and the public.

Stonehenge Vandalized With Orange Powder

On a recent Wednesday around noon, the environmental group Just Stop Oil vandalized the historic Stonehenge monument near Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Two activists, Niamh Lynch, a 21-year-old student from Oxford, and Rajan Naidu, a 73-year-old from Birmingham, sprayed orange powder paint on the stones.

This act was meant to draw attention to their demand that the UK government end the extraction and burning of oil, gas, and coal by 2030.

Vandalism Details and Immediate Consequences

At approximately 12:00 BST, two Just Stop Oil campaigners approached Stonehenge armed with orange powder paint and sprayed the substance on the ancient stones.

The incident occurred just a day before the Summer Solstice celebrations at the 5,000-year-old site when the monument received heightened attention and numerous visitors.

Wiltshire Police quickly arrested Lynch and Naidu on suspicion of damaging the ancient monument.

According to Just Stop Oil, the orange powder was cornflour, which they claimed would “wash away with rain.” However, this did not mitigate the strong reactions from various quarters.

Public and Official Reactions to the Vandalism

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the incident, calling it a disgraceful act of vandalism.

Similarly, Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer labeled the damageoutrageousand described the protesters as pathetic.”

Members of the public who witnessed the event shouted “no” and tried to intervene as the activists ran towards the stone circle.

Nick Merriman, chief executive of English Heritage, expressed deep sadness over the vandalism. He said that Stonehenge represents a connection to nature and stressed the importance of channeling activism away from museum sites.

Paul Clifton, a BBC correspondent, reported that the stones closest to the public path were “splattered” with the powder, leaving tourists “slightly bemused.

Mike Pitts, an archaeologist, voiced concerns about the potential damage to the monument. He said the stones are sensitive and covered in prehistoric markings yet to be fully studied, which are all at risk from such actions.

Protesters’ Reasons for Vandalizing Stonehenge

Just Stop Oil’s actions were driven by a desire to pressure the next UK government to end fossil fuel extraction and use by 2030.

The group argued that burning fossil fuels leads to severe consequences, claiming it would lead to the deaths of millions.

Their spokesperson stressed the urgency of uniting to defend humanity against the looming climate crisis.

In their statement, Lynch and Naidu explained their reasons for targeting Stonehenge. Lynch stated, “Stonehenge at the solstice is all about celebrating the natural world – but look at the state it’s in.

Naidu added that the orange cornflour was intended to create an eye-catching spectacle that would soon wash away, minimizing long-term damage.

Cleanup Efforts and Ongoing Investigation

As confirmed by Nick Merriman, the orange powder was eventually removed using blown air, a method that preserved the rare lichen on the stones.

However, experts still need to inspect the stones to ensure no lasting damage occurred.

Wiltshire Police are continuing their investigations and working closely with English Heritage.

They confirmed that their inquiries are ongoing to address the full impact of the incident and prevent future occurrences.

Marilyn Walters

Marilyn Walters

Marilyn is a seasoned journalist known for her investigative reporting and insightful analysis. Her relentless pursuit of truth and dedication to journalistic integrity have established her as a respected voice in today's dynamic news landscape.

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