Activists from the Just Stop Oil environmental movement spray the Stonehenge site with an orange product

Activists from the Just Stop Oil environmental movement spray the Stonehenge site with an orange product
Activists from the Just Stop Oil environmental movement spray the Stonehenge site with an orange product

They call on the authorities to “sign a legally binding treaty to phase out fossil fuels by 2030.”

Two activists from the Just Stop Oil environmental movement sprayed the rocks of the Stonehenge site, a famous megalithic monument in the United Kingdom, with an orange product this Wednesday, June 19. They were subsequently arrested by the police.

They call on the authorities to “sign a legally binding treaty to phase out fossil fuels by 2030.” “Continuing to burn coal, oil and gas will lead to the death of millions of people. We must unite to defend humanity, otherwise we risk everything,” the movement wrote in a press release published immediately on its site.

The activists specify that the product used is “orange cornstarch” which will wash away with the rain. Similarly, known for its actions against works of art in museums, Just Stop Oil only targets paintings protected by glass or plastic.

Waiting for significant measures

The movement warns of other actions of this type in the summer in several countries around the world, “if governments do not take significant measures”. “Stone circles can be found in all regions of Europe, which show that we have always cooperated over great distances – we build on this heritage,” we can read in this press release.

“Stonehenge at the solstice is a celebration of the natural world, but look at the state it is in,” says Niamh Lynch, one of the activists present this Wednesday at Stonehenge.

Indeed, this striking action comes on the eve of the summer solstice celebrations which take place every year around the historic site.

“Expect a prison sentence”

In a tweet, the Stonehenge site states that the monument is protected and “damaging it is a criminal offense.” “Many rare species of lichens growing on stones are also protected. Expect a prison sentence,” he writes.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the action, deploring a “disgraceful act of vandalism against one of the oldest and most important monuments in the United Kingdom and the world,” reports The Daily Mail.

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

Punch actions

Just Stop Oil was founded in February 2022 in the United Kingdom and has since multiplied civil disobedience actions to warn against climate change, caused by human activities and in particular by the use of fossil fuels.

Campaigners are taking action with the aim of getting the UK government to commit to stopping new licenses and approvals for the development and production of fossil fuels. For example, they doused Van Gogh’s Sunflowers with soup or smeared the wax statue of King Charles III.

A method deemed necessary by the group because “we must do much more to stop the greatest crime against humanity”, we can read on the site.

“Tackling what people really care about pushes them to ask themselves difficult questions (…), to ask themselves if we have the right priorities,” explain the activists.

The movement is part of an international network of environmental groups including, in France, Riposte Alimentaire, formerly known as Dernier Rénovation.

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