Climate Change Protesters Arrested After Spraying Stonehenge with Orange Paint

Niamh Lynch and Rajan Naidu of Just Stop Oil spray orange powder paint on the Stonehenge monument.

Two protesters with Just Stop Oil sprayed Stonehenge in England with orange powder paint on Wednesday, according to a video posted by the activist group on X.

The protesters, identified as 21-year-old Oxford student Niamh Lynch and 73-year-old Birmingham man Rajan Naidu, were arrested shortly after the action after two bystanders apparently tried to stop them from throwing the paint.

The organization said in a statement that the action was meant as call for the UK’s next government to sign a “legally binding treaty to phase out fossil fuels by 2030.” (The UK is set for its next general election on July 4.)

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called the action a “disgraceful act of vandalism,” while Keir Starmer, the head of the Labour Party and Sunak’s primary electoral challenger, called Just Stop Oil “pathetic,” as the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

In a statement posted to X, Naidu similarly called for a “Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty” and said that the paint was “orange cornflour.”

“Either we end the fossil fuel era, or the fossil fuel era will end us,” Naidu said. “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.”

The statement continued, “The orange cornflour we used to create an eye-catching spectacle will soon wash away with the rain, but the urgent need for effective government action to mitigate the catastrophic consequences of the climate and ecological crisis will not. Sign the treaty!”

English Heritage, the organization that manages the monument, said it was investigating the site for potential damage.

Michael Pitts, an archaeologist and expert on Stonehenge, told BBC that the megaliths “are sensitive and they are completely covered in prehistoric markings which remain to be fully studied and any surface damage to the stones is hugely concerning.”

The action comes one day before the summer solstice, when thousands typically gather at the monument to celebrate the longest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere.

The action is just the latest by Just Stop Oil and other related groups.

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