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2 climate activists were arrested after spraying orange paint on Stonehenge

In this handout photo, Just Stop Oil protesters sit after spraying an orange substance on Stonehenge, in Salisbury, England, on Wednesday. (Just Stop Oil via AP)
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In this handout photo, Just Stop Oil protesters sit after spraying an orange substance on Stonehenge, in Salisbury, England, on Wednesday. (Just Stop Oil via AP)

Two climate activists have been arrested at Stonehenge in England after spraying orange paint on the well-known historic landmark.

The group Just Stop Oil took credit for the Wednesday action, which they said was a call on the United Kingdom to stop the use of fossil fuels by 2030.

“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,” Just Stop Oil said in a press release.

The group said the orange cornflour used on the monument would wash away in the rain.

It identified the two activists responsible as University of Oxford student Niamh Lynch, 21, and Birmingham resident Rajan Naidu, 73.

The Wiltshire Police confirmed that officers arrested two people on suspicion of damaging Stonehenge.

The action took place just one day before the summer solstice — the longest day of the year — when thousands of people are expected to descend upon the historic monument.

English Heritage, the group that manages Stonehenge, said in a post on X that the site remains open. It called the incident “extremely upsetting” and said its curators were assessing the extent of any damage.

In its press release, Just Stop Oil said it wouldn’t be enough for the UK to stop any future oil and gas licenses, but rather urged the government to sign a legally binding treaty barring it from extracting and burning oil, gas and coal by the year 2030.

UK political leaders were quick to condemn the demonstration.

In a post on X, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “Just Stop Oil are a disgrace.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer, who is running against Sunak in the upcoming election, saidthe damage done to Stonehenge was “outrageous.” Starmer called Just Stop Oil “pathetic” and said those responsible for the action “must face the full force of the law.”

It’s the latest public protest initiated by activists with Just Stop Oil, whose members have also interrupted tennis matches at Wimbledon, disrupted the London pride parade and defacedclassic works of art.

Copyright 2024 NPR

Joe Hernandez
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
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