Saturday , July 13 2024

Just Stop Oil spray Stonehenge with orange paint as heroic passer-by steps in to try to drag them away

Just Stop Oil protesters have sprayed Stonehenge with orange paint as members of the public were seen trying to drag them away.

Video footage posted on social media showed two people, wearing white shirts with Just Stop Oil emblazoned on the front, running up to the ancient monoliths with canisters and spraying paint all over them.

In a heroic attempt to stop the group desecrating the stones, one woman was seen desperately trying to drag the protesters away before other members of the public piled in to help her.

The protesters, who were named as Niamh Lynch, 21, a student from Oxford, and Rajan Naidu, 73, from Birmingham, have now been arrested by police on suspicion of damaging the historical monument.

Several stones – dating back to the late Neolithic period – were covered during the incident, which happened at around 12pm today, the day before the summer solstice is celebrated at Stonehenge, which is the heart of a World Heritage site. 

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has condemned the attack as a ‘disgraceful act of vandalism to one of the UK’s and the world’s oldest and most important monuments.’

Just Stop Oil protesters have sprayed Stonehenge with orange paint in their latest stunt

Just Stop Oil protesters have sprayed Stonehenge with orange paint in their latest stunt 

Video footage posted on social media showed two people wearing white shirts with Just Stop Oil on running up to the monoliths with canisters spraying paint

Video footage posted on social media showed two people wearing white shirts with Just Stop Oil on running up to the monoliths with canisters spraying paint

Members of the public were seen trying to prevent the protesters by dragging them away

Several stones were covered in the substance before the protesters stopped and sat cross legged on the grass

Several stones were covered in the substance before the protesters stopped and sat cross legged on the grass

The Prime Minister continued: ‘Just Stop Oil should be ashamed of their activists, and they and anyone associated with them, including a certain Labour Party donor, should issue a condemnation of this shameful act immediately.’

Wiltshire Police said officers had attended the scene and arrested two people.

A spokesman added: At around noon, we responded to a report that orange paint had been sprayed on some of the stones by two suspects.

‘Officers attended the scene and arrested two people on suspicion of damaging the ancient monument.

‘Our inquiries are ongoing, and we are working closely with English Heritage.’

English Heritage said experts were assessing the ‘extent of the damage’ on the stones.

A spokeswoman said: ‘Orange powdered paint has been thrown at a number of the stones at Stonehenge.

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‘Obviously, this is extremely upsetting and our curators are investigating the extent of the damage. Stonehenge remains open to the public.’

Just Stop Oil supporters desecrate Stonehenge in orange powder paint

Just Stop Oil supporters desecrate Stonehenge in orange powder paint

One woman was seen desperately trying to drag the protesters away during the incident

One woman was seen desperately trying to drag the protesters away during the incident

Other members of the public later tried to help the women wrestle the canister off the protesters

Other members of the public later tried to help the women wrestle the canister off the protesters

The stones were supposedly sprayed with orange cornflour, which Just Stop Oil claimed would 'soon wash away with the rain'

The stones were supposedly sprayed with orange cornflour, which Just Stop Oil claimed would ‘soon wash away with the rain’

A Just Stop Oil spokesperson said: ‘The UK’s government in waiting has committed to enacting Just Stop Oil’s original demand of ‘no new oil and gas’. However, we all know this 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. That’s why Just Stop Oil is demanding that our next government sign up to a legally-binding treaty to phase out fossil fuels by 2030.

‘Failure to commit to defending our communities will mean Just Stop Oil supporters, along with citizens from Austria, Canada, Norway, the Netherlands and Switzerland, will join in resistance this summer, if their own governments do not take meaningful action.

‘Stone circles can be found in every part of Europe showing how we’ve always co-operated across vast distances – we’re building on that legacy.’

The group said it used orange cornflour paint to spray onto the stones, which it claimed would ‘soon wash away with the rain’.

In quotes provided by Just Stop Oil, Miss Lynch, said to be a student from Oxford, said the continued burning of oil, coal and gas was leading to ‘death and suffering’.

Niamh Lynch, 21, and Rajan Naidu, 73, sit in front of Stonehenge after spraying the ancient stones in orange paint

Niamh Lynch, 21, and Rajan Naidu, 73, sit in front of Stonehenge after spraying the ancient stones in orange paint

The pair (pictured) have now been arrested by police on suspicion of damaging the monument

The pair (pictured) have now been arrested by police on suspicion of damaging the monument

Protesters Niamh Lynch, who is a student from Oxford, and Rajan Naidu, from Birmingham, are seen stood in front of the paint covered monoliths

Protesters Niamh Lynch, who is a student from Oxford, and Rajan Naidu, from Birmingham, are seen stood in front of the paint covered monoliths

‘It’s time for us to think about what our civilization will leave behind – what is our legacy?’ she said. ‘Standing inert for generations works well for stones – not climate policy.’

Miss Lynch’s social media profiles reveal that she has a keen interest in birds as the current president of the Oxford Ornithological Student Society and a Youth Representative at the British Trust for Ornithology. 

Rajan added: ‘Either we end the fossil fuel era, or the fossil fuel era will end us.

‘Just as fifty years ago, when the world used international treaties to defuse the threats posed by nuclear weapons, today the world needs a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty to phase out fossil fuels and to support dependent economies, workers and communities to move away from oil, gas and coal.’

English Heritage describes Stonehenge as perhaps the world’s most famous prehistoric monument.

It was built in several stages, with the first an early henge monument erected about 5,000 years ago.

The stone circle was erected in the late Neolithic period, about 2,500 BC. Burial mounds were built nearby in the early Bronze Age.

Stonehenge, together with Avebury, forms the heart of a World Heritage Site.

English Heritage describes Stonehenge as perhaps the world's most famous prehistoric monument

English Heritage describes Stonehenge as perhaps the world’s most famous prehistoric monument

The Just Stop Oil incident came just a day before the summer solstice is celebrated at Stonehenge. Revellers are pictured during last year's celebrations

The Just Stop Oil incident came just a day before the summer solstice is celebrated at Stonehenge. Revellers are pictured during last year’s celebrations 

Revelers perform yoga soon after sun rise at the ancient stone circle Stonehenge to celebrate the Summer Solstice in 2019

Revelers perform yoga soon after sun rise at the ancient stone circle Stonehenge to celebrate the Summer Solstice in 2019

It is not the first time the eco-group has attempted to disrupt an event using canisters containing orange paint. 

Earlier this month, two silver-haired protesters were led away by police after unleashing a cloud of orange paint at the Duke of Westminster’s society wedding of the year to Olivia Hanson. 

Two women, 73 and 69, let off a fire extinguisher containing orange powder paint in the direction of the wedding party, which included the Prince of Wales, as they left Chester Cathedral.

The protesters, who have since been arrested, were quickly removed from the crowd by police as onlookers booed. They were named by JSO as Polly, 73, a care worker from Norfolk, and Sheila, 69, a former NHS nurse from Bristol.

Hugh Grosvenor, 33, universally known as ‘Hughie’ to aristocratic friends, is estimated to be worth £10.42billion, making him the richest man under 40 in Britain.

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The landowner, who married Olivia Henson, is the godfather to William’s son Prince George and Prince Harry’s son Archie. But while William played a major role at the service among 400 or so expected guests, Harry remained in California.

Olivia, 31, looked stunning in her wedding dress and blue shoes as she left the 11th Century Cathedral alongside her new husband as they made their way to a waiting Bentley. 

But at around 12.30pm, two Just Stop Oil fanatics used fire extinguishers to spray powder paint in their direction.

Barbara Williams, 81, from Cheshire, who was standing next to the protesters in the crowd, said: ‘I feel a bit shaken after it. 

‘We were standing next to them all day.’

A Just Stop Oil protester is led away by police after trying to disrupt the Duke of Westminster's Wedding on June 7

A Just Stop Oil protester is led away by police after trying to disrupt the Duke of Westminster’s Wedding on June 7

A second silver-haired protester was also arrested following the killjoy stunt

A second silver-haired protester was also arrested following the killjoy stunt 

The moment clouds of powder paint were released from two fire extinguishers

The moment clouds of powder paint were released from two fire extinguishers 

Two women let off a fire extinguisher containing the orange powder paint in the direction of the wedding party, which included the Prince of Wales

Two women let off a fire extinguisher containing the orange powder paint in the direction of the wedding party, which included the Prince of Wales

Her friend Andrea Machin, 56, added: ‘They were already here when we arrived at 7am, they had shopping trolleys with them.

‘Everyone was watching the bride and groom and then we just saw orange and they had what looked like a fire extinguisher with them.

‘The police realised quite quickly what was happening and pulled them out. One of them said it was for her grandchildren. It happened just as William was coming out of the door.’

Rhona Dalziel, 57, said: ‘One of them had been reading a Richard Osman book. It’s bizarre.’

A spokesman for Cheshire Police told MailOnline: ‘Shortly after 1pm on Friday a coloured flare was released by two women, believed to be protesting on behalf of Just Stop Oil, on St Werburgh Street, Chester.

‘Officers were immediately on the scene and two women were quickly arrested on suspicion of public order offences.

‘The 69-year-old woman from Manchester and 73-year-old woman from Suffolk are both in police custody at this time.’

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