Police arrested two climate protesters who threw tomato soup on a famous Van Gogh painting at London’s National Gallery Friday.
The protest was organized by the group Just Stop Oil, which aims to stop the U.K. government from engaging in new oil and gas licenses and projects. Metropolitan Police in London said the two protesters were arrested for criminal damage and aggravated trespass.
In a statement Friday, the museum said the incident didn’t harm the painting but did cause minor damage to its frame.
A video shared by Just Stop Oil showed the protesters opening cans of tomato soup, throwing the soup on the “Sunflowers” painting and gluing their hands to the wall beneath it before security appeared to intervene.
“What is worth more? Art or life? Is it worth more than food? Worth more than justice?” said one protester, according to the video. “Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting or the protection of our planet and people?”
Police officers removed the protesters and took them into custody, police said.
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Made in 1888, the “Sunflowers” painting at the National Gallery is one of five versions of the famous piece displayed around the world, according to the museum. The National Gallery said the sunflower paintings are among Van Gogh’s best-loved works.
The action was the latest from Just Stop Oil. The group has been protesting each day over the last two weeks, blocking roads around central London. They vowed to continue protesting “every day until our demand is met: no new oil and gas in the U.K.,” the group said.
A representative for the U.K. government didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
Write to Jennifer Calfas at [email protected]
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