Just Stop Oil warn they may start slashing famous artworks to step up climate change campaign

Just Stop Oil warns if their demands are not met, they will escalate their actions

Mustafa Javid Qadri
Thursday 01 December 2022 16:12 GMT
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<p>Protesters throw soup on Van Gogh’s famous sunflower artwork, valued over £72 million</p>

Protesters throw soup on Van Gogh’s famous sunflower artwork, valued over £72 million

Just Stop Oil have said they may consider slashing valuable paintings if the government does not meet their demands.

The environmental activists hit the headlines last month after they targeted a series of high profile paintings across Europe with paint and food.

In one instance, a demonstrator threw tomato soup on Van Gogh’s Sunflowers masterpiece at the National Gallery in London and glued their hands to the wall. The painting was estimated to be worth £72.5 million and is protected by a glass cover.

But now the pressure group is warning it will escalate the level of its protests to highlight their cause.

A spokesperson said: “If no action is taken to end new oil and gas, ordinary people might actively consider slashing paintings as the Suffragettes did and yes, if the government does not address our demand for no new oil, we will consider escalating our actions.”

Just Stop Oil are demanding government officials halt all licensing for fossil fuel production in the UK, and have caused severe disruptions to the public while getting their message across.

On Wednesday, they marched slowly through central London and brought traffic to a standstill. Ten activists walked along Aldersgate Street to London Wall, causing delays to the rush hour traffic.

Just Stop Oil said they were followed by at least 7 police vehicles and up to 20 police officers, but there were no arrests.

Protesters marching through central London

Oscar Bailey, 26, a software developer from London said: “I’m taking action because I’m tired of government inaction on the biggest issue of our generation, possibly in the history of our species. We know the problem, we know the solution, as a society we just need to enact it.”

“There is no second chance – our actions in the next few years will be remembered for centuries to come. We need to make the right choices now. I want to live in a just world that respects all life, where our actions are motivated by that respect.”

Despite their controversy, Just Stop Oil are adamant about being a nonviolent civil resistance.

They said: “We are engaged in nonviolent civil resistance. For now that means slowly marching around the streets of London, calling on ordinary people to take their first steps to help block and disable the cogs of the machine.”

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