Stonehenge Vandalized with Orange Paint by Just Stop Oil Protesters

Stonehenge Vandalized with Orange Paint by Just Stop Oil Protesters

Mihir Gadhvi 19/06/2024
Stonehenge Vandalized with Orange Paint by Just Stop Oil Protesters

Two activists from the environmental group Just Stop Oil have vandalized part of the historic Stonehenge monument with orange powder paint.

The incident occurred around 12:00 BST on Wednesday, just a day before the annual Summer Solstice celebrations at the 5,000-year-old landmark near Salisbury, Wiltshire.

The two campaigners, identified by Just Stop Oil as 21-year-old student Niamh Lynch from Oxford and 73-year-old Rajan Naidu from Birmingham, sprayed the paint on the stones in a bold demonstration aimed at drawing attention to their cause. Wiltshire Police confirmed that both individuals were arrested on suspicion of damaging the ancient monument.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the act, labeling it a “disgraceful act of vandalism.” The Prime Minister's rebuke reflects the broader public sentiment about the incident, which has sparked outrage among many who consider Stonehenge a treasured heritage site.

Just Stop Oil defended the protest in a statement, explaining that the orange powder used was cornflour, which they claimed would wash away with rain. The group stated that their action was motivated by a demand for the next UK government to end the extraction and burning of fossil fuels, specifically oil, gas, and coal, by 2030.

Members of the public who were present at the site reacted strongly to the protest. Witnesses reported hearing shouts of "no" and saw several people running towards the stone circle in an attempt to stop the activists. Despite these efforts, the protestors succeeded in spraying the paint before being apprehended.

A spokeswoman for English Heritage, the organization responsible for managing Stonehenge, described the incident as "extremely upsetting." She confirmed that the site remained open to the public and that curators were investigating the extent of the damage caused by the paint. "We are taking this matter very seriously and will work to ensure the integrity of the site is preserved," she added.

The use of Stonehenge as a platform for the protest has been particularly contentious given its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site and its cultural significance. Just Stop Oil's spokesperson elaborated on the rationale behind the protest, emphasizing the urgency of their cause. "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," the spokesperson said.

The group’s actions have highlighted the tension between raising awareness for environmental issues and respecting historical and cultural landmarks. The activists argue that drastic measures are necessary to prompt urgent action on climate change, while critics contend that such actions only serve to alienate potential supporters and cause unnecessary damage to invaluable heritage sites.

Wiltshire Police, in collaboration with English Heritage, are conducting ongoing inquiries into the incident. A police spokesperson commented, "We responded to a report that orange paint had been sprayed on some of the stones by two suspects. Our enquiries are ongoing, and we are working closely with English Heritage to address this matter."

The timing of the protest, on the eve of the Summer Solstice, underscores its symbolic significance. The solstice is a time when thousands gather at Stonehenge to celebrate, making the site a focal point of cultural importance. The incident has cast a shadow over the festivities, with many attendees expressing disappointment and anger over the defacement of the monument.

This act of vandalism at Stonehenge by Just Stop Oil has ignited a broader conversation about the methods used by environmental activists and the balance between advocating for urgent climate action and preserving historical and cultural sites. As authorities work to assess and rectify the damage, the debate over how best to achieve environmental goals without compromising heritage continues to rage.

Share this article

Leave your comments

Post comment as a guest

terms and condition.
  • No comments found

Share this article

Mihir Gadhvi

Tech Expert

Mihir Gadhvi is the co-founder of illustrake and HAYD. Illustrake is a D2C Enabler and offers Performance Marketing, Retention Marketing, and Content Creation Services. HAYD is a brand New, homegrown fashion line that aims to make clothing easy for us without taxing our planet. Although the concept is quite known now, HAYD wants to accomplish sustainability by reducing its impact on the environment with safe and fair manufacturing.

Cookies user prefences
We use cookies to ensure you to get the best experience on our website. If you decline the use of cookies, this website may not function as expected.
Accept all
Decline all
Read more
Tools used to analyze the data to measure the effectiveness of a website and to understand how it works.
Google Analytics