Energy & Environment

Climate protesters throw soup on van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’

Handout photo issued by Just Stop Oil of two protesters who have thrown tinned soup at Vincent Van Gogh’s famous 1888 work Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London, Friday Oct. 14, 2022. The group Just Stop Oil, which wants the British government to halt new oil and gas projects, said activists dumped two cans of Heinz tomato soup over the oil painting on Friday. London’s Metropolitan Police said officers arrested two people on suspicion of criminal damage and aggravated trespass. (Just Stop Oil via AP)

Climate protesters threw soup on Vincent van Gogh’s famous “Sunflowers” painting in London’s National Gallery and glued themselves to the wall on Friday in protest of fossil fuel extraction.

The painting, which is covered in glass, did not appear to suffer any damage, according to The Associated Press. Police officers have since unglued the two protesters and arrested them for criminal damage and aggravated trespassing, London’s Metropolitan Police said in a press release.

The two protesters were with Just Stop Oil, an organization demanding that the government in the United Kingdom end all new oil and gas extraction. 

“What is worth more — art or life?” one of the protesters said while glued to the wall on Friday. “Is it worth more than food, worth more than justice? Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting or the protection of our planet and people?”

“The cost-of-living crisis is part of the cost-of-oil crisis,” the protester added. “Fuel is unaffordable to millions of cold, hungry families. They can’t even afford to heat a tin of soup. Meanwhile, crops are failing. Millions of people are dying in monsoons, wildfires and severe drought. We cannot afford new oil and gas. It’s going to take everything we know and love.”

The members of the group have previously targeted artwork and museums in their protests, gluing themselves to the frame of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” at the Royal Academy of Arts and John Constable’s “The Hay Wain” at the National Gallery earlier this year, according to the AP. 

Tags Climate change climate crisis Just Stop Oil London Metropolitan Police London National Gallery oil and gas protests The Associated Press United Kingdom
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