Just Stop Oil: Stonehenge covered in orange 'paint' by activists as onlookers intervene in dramatic video

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Two Just Stop Oil activists have been arrested after spraying one of Britain’s most famous monuments with orange paint.

At around 11am on Wednesday (19 June), two people - who Just Stop Oil have claimed as supporters - hopped the rope separating members of the public from Stonehenge, and began spraying the ancient megalithic structure orange. Thousands are expected to arrive at the prehistoric stones on the Salisbury Plains in just one day’s time, to celebrate the Summer Solstice.

Video footage showed the pair running towards the 5,000-year-old structure, spraying it with paint from fire extinguishers. A woman - who appeared to be a staff member - ran to try and wrestle the painting equipment away, and was quickly joined by another man. Clouds of orange powder paint could be seem billowing across the site, as dismayed members of the public could be heard yelling “what are they doing?”

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Activists sitting by Stonehenge after it was sprayed orange (Photo: Just Stop Oil/Supplied)Activists sitting by Stonehenge after it was sprayed orange (Photo: Just Stop Oil/Supplied)
Activists sitting by Stonehenge after it was sprayed orange (Photo: Just Stop Oil/Supplied) | JSO

A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said they had arrested two people following the incident. “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,” the force added.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has already hit out at the act, describing it as “a disgraceful act of vandalism” to one of the UK’s and the world’s oldest and most important monuments. “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.”

A spokeswoman for English Heritage told PA the incident was “extremely upsetting”. “Orange powdered paint has been thrown at a number of the stones at Stonehenge. Obviously, this is extremely upsetting and our curators are investigating the extent of the damage,” she continued. Stonehenge remains open to the public for now.

In a statement, Just Stop Oil named the pair as Oxford student Niamh Lynch, 21, and Rajan Naidu, 73, from Birmingham. Ms Lynch said in a statement: “Stonehenge at solstice is all about celebrating the natural world - but look at the state it's in! We all have a right to live a life free from suffering, but continued burning of oil, coal and gas is leading to death and suffering on an unparalleled scale.

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

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