2 activists arrested for vandalizing Stonehenge in climate protest

2 activists arrested for vandalizing Stonehenge in climate protest

A pair of climate protesters was arrested Wednesday after allegedly spraying the Stonehenge monument in England with orange paint, according to local authorities.

The protesters, from the group Just Stop Oil, sprayed the monument with orange paint Wednesday, one day ahead of the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, the environmental activist group said in a statement on the social platform X.

The two individuals were “demanding the incoming government sign up to a legally binding treaty to phase out fossil fuels by 2030,” Just Stop Oil said.

Wiltshire Police told The Associated Press (AP) the two protesters were arrested near Salisbury, England, on suspicion of damaging one of the world’s most famous prehistoric monuments and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Hill reached out to police and Just Stop Oil for further comment.

The manager of the ancient site, English Heritage, called the incident “extremely upsetting” and said curators are investigating the extent of the damage.

Just Stop Oil noted the paint used on the 4,500-year-old stone circle was made of orange cornflour that will dissolve in the rain.

The group said the move came in response to the Labour Party’s recently released manifesto, which committed to not issuing further licenses for oil and gas exploration should it win the election on July 4. Just Stop Oil supports the decision, but said it is not enough.

“Continuing to burn coal, oil and gas will result in the death of millions. We have to come together to defend humanity, or we risk everything,” a spokesperson for Just Stop Oil said in a statement.

The two protesters involved are Niamh Lynch, a 21-year-old student from Oxford, and Rajan Naidu, 73, of Birmingham, England, according to the group.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak slammed Wednesday’s protest, writing on X, “Just Stop Oil are a disgrace.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer, Sunak’s main opponent in the upcoming election, called Just Stop Oil “pathetic” and said the damage done to Stonehenge is “outrageous.”

The Labour Party is currently leading in polling, with several pundits and politicians predicting the party will lead the next government, the AP reported.

Thousands are expected to visit Stonehenge on the lands of Salisbury Plain on Thursday to mark the summer solstice. The historic site was built starting 5,000 years ago, while the iconic stone circle was built in the late Neolithic period in about 2,500 B.C.

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