Just Stop Oil spray Stonehenge with orange paint (2024)

Just Stop Oilprotesters have sprayed Stonehenge with orange paint as members of the public were seen trying to drag them away.

Video footage posted on social media showed two people, wearing white shirts with Just Stop Oil emblazoned on the front, running up to the ancient monoliths with canisters and spraying paint all over them.

In a heroic attempt to stop the group desecrating the stones, one woman was seen desperately trying to drag the protesters away before other members of the public piled in to help her.

The protesters, who were named as Niamh Lynch, 21, a student from Oxford, and Rajan Naidu, 73, from Birmingham, have now been arrested by policeon suspicion of damaging the historical monument.

As police officers led the pair away, one man could be heard shouting: 'You dirty scum. This is a temple, not a publicity stunt!'

Several stones - dating back to the late Neolithic period - were covered during the incident, which happened at around 12pm today, the day before the summer solstice is celebrated at Stonehenge, which is the heart of a World Heritage site.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has condemned the attack as a 'disgraceful act of vandalismto one of the UK's and the world's oldest and most important monuments.'

Just Stop Oil protesters have sprayed Stonehenge with orange paint in their latest stunt

Video footage posted on social media showed two people wearing white shirts with Just Stop Oil on running up to the monoliths with canisters spraying paint

Members of the public were seen trying to prevent the protesters by dragging them away

Several stones were covered in the substance before the protesters stopped and sat cross legged on the grass

The Prime Minister continued: 'Just Stop Oil should be ashamed of their activists, and they and anyone associated with them, including a certain Labour Party donor, should issue a condemnation of this shameful act immediately.'

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said 'Just Stop Oil are pathetic' after activists from the group targeted Stonehenge.

In a tweet, he wrote: 'The damage done to Stonehenge is outrageous. Just Stop oil are pathetic. Those responsible must face the full force of the law.'

Historian Tom Holland, who has previously hailed Stonehenge as one of Europe's most precious prehistoric sites, also criticised the attack.

He wrote on X: 'Parade your concern for the planet by destroying endangered lichens.Sympathy transmuted into utter loathing.'

Wiltshire Police said officers had attended the scene and arrested two people.

A spokesman added: 'At around noon, we responded to a report that orange paint had been sprayed on some of the stones by two suspects.

'Officers attended the scene and arrested two people on suspicion of damaging the ancient monument.

'Our inquiries are ongoing, and we are working closely with English Heritage.'

English Heritage said experts were assessing the 'extent of the damage' on the stones.

A spokeswoman said: 'Orange powdered paint has been thrown at a number of the stones at Stonehenge.

'Obviously, this is extremely upsetting and our curators are investigating the extent of the damage. Stonehenge remains open to the public.'

Eyewitnesses at Stonehenge said their stunt 'beggars belief'.

Furious visitors told how they have been left 'devastated' after witnessing two Just Stop Oil protesting at Stonehenge by covering its sarsen stones in bright powder paint.

One couple travelled 5,000 miles from the west coast of the USA to see Stonehenge and said it has 'ruined' it for visitors.

Another couple from Newcastle, 325 miles away from Wiltshire, likened the incident to the Sycamore Gap tree felling.

Others said the heroic woman who can be seen wrestling with the Just Stop Oil protesters is a staff member who works at Stonehenge.

Tourists also said after the incident they were banned from walking around the stones and that staff 'hosed down' the powder paint but couldn't remove it all.

A druid was also seen 'cursing' the 'two idiots' who staged the protest.

Nestled in the Wiltshire countryside near Salisbury, Stonehenge is one of the top tourist attractions in the UK thanks to its mysterious beauty.

The historical landmark dates back 5,000 years, with the famous circle of sarsen stones being placed between 2600 BC and 2400 BC.

After Just Stop Oil's act today - which Prime Minister Rishi Sunak described as 'a disgraceful act of vandalism' - visitors were left seething.

In a video posted by the group, a woman - who is thought to work at the site - can be seen taking matters into her own hands and pulling the sprayers away from the stones.

Sean Moran, 64, has been a blue badge guide taking families around the site since 2012 and said he had never seen anything like it as the protesters used extinguisher-like canisters to spray the historic stones.

'It was devastating,' he said, 'I was very angry. We were having a great time and enjoying it when it happened.

'I quickly realised it was the Just Stop Oil people.

'A security guard couldn't handle it and tourists jumped in.'

Of the woman who jumped in, he said: 'She worked here. It was just crazy. In my mind there's a link to the solstice to maximise publicity.'

He pointed out the potential hypocrisy in the protesters' actions, adding: 'There's living lichen on those stones.

'Biologists from around the world to study it - did they think of that?'

Paul Anderson, 59 and his wife Elaine, 55, were down from Newcastle on holiday with their daughter.

Mr Anderson said: 'It was two idiots. We were around the other side, and we saw a lot of orange mist.

'I can't see how that's good publicity, doing something like that to an ancient monument.

'Coming from Newcastle, after the Sycamore Gap tree was felled - it beggars belief. It's a shame.'

Mrs Anderson said: 'It's ruined the day, but not the holiday. I'm not going to let them - how dare you.

'It's the last thing you'd expect. There was a lot of shouting from me. There was only one small woman who tried to stop them.'

Mike and Julie, who did not wish to give their surname, had travelled 5,000 miles from the west coast of the USA to see Stonehenge.

However, as a result of the protesters, the path to walk amongst the stones was shut down by security and police, as they could only be observed from afar.

'It's a shame, it really is,' Mike said. 'They are ruining it for people who have come from across the world to have their moment and see it.'

Julie added: 'They spray painted the stones. The police apprehended them and they said they now have to survey the structure.

'They don't know if they can get the paint off.'

Sheryl Hope, 59, who was visiting from Kent before picking up her son from university tomorrow, lamented Just Stop Oil's tactics.

'They're still looking quite orange,' she said, having visited after the protest. 'They hosed it down, but there was a lot of. It's upsetting, today of all days, which is why they did it.

'I don't agree with the methods at all. I understand the message, I just don't agree with the method.'

Robin Clark, 63, arrived at the scene to see a druid 'cursing' the protesters.

'There was a lot of orange paint,' he said. 'You weren't allowed to walk amongst the stones afterwards. That was very disappointing as I was expecting to do that.'

The engineer said of their methods: 'I don't really agree with it, I think they are going down the wrong route.'

One woman was seen desperately trying to drag the protesters away during the incident

Other members of the public later tried to help the women wrestle the canister off the protesters

The stones were supposedly sprayed withorange cornflour, which Just Stop Oil claimed would 'soon wash away with the rain'

One picture shows the two protesters before the paint attack, as they are seen blending in among the crowds on tourists

A Just Stop Oil spokesperson said: 'The UK's government in waiting has committed to enacting Just Stop Oil's original demand of 'no new oil and gas'. However, we all know this is not enough. Continuing to burn coal, oil and gas will result in the death of millions.

'We have to come together to defend humanity or we risk everything. That's why Just Stop Oil is demanding that our next government sign up to a legally-binding treaty to phase out fossil fuels by 2030.

'Failure to commit to defending our communities will mean Just Stop Oil supporters, along with citizens from Austria, Canada, Norway, the Netherlands and Switzerland, will join in resistance this summer, if their own governments do not take meaningful action.

'Stone circles can be found in every part of Europe showing how we've always co-operated across vast distances - we're building on that legacy.'

The group said it used orange cornflour paint to spray onto the stones, which it claimed would 'soon wash away with the rain'.

Security measures around the monument are notoriously lax, with just a small cordone of rope in place around the perimeter of the stones to deter people getting too close as well as a few guards dotted around the site.

Tourists were previously able to get much closer to the monument, but tougher restrictions were put in place after somevisitors attempted to carve their name into the rocks or take pieces of the monument home.

Niamh Lynch, 21, and Rajan Naidu, 73, sit in front of Stonehenge after spraying the ancient stones in orange paint

The pair (pictured) have now been arrested by police on suspicion of damaging the monument

Protesters Niamh Lynch, who is a student from Oxford, and Rajan Naidu, from Birmingham, are seen stood in front of the paint covered monoliths

Miss Lynch is aa student from Oxford with a keen interest in birds

In quotes provided by Just Stop Oil, Miss Lynch, said to be a student from Oxford, said the continued burning of oil, coal and gas was leading to 'death and suffering'.

'It's time for us to think about what our civilization will leave behind - what is our legacy?' she said. 'Standing inert for generations works well for stones - not climate policy.'

Miss Lynch's social media profiles reveal that she has a keen interest in birds as the current president of theOxford Ornithological Student Society and aYouth Representative at theBritish Trust for Ornithology.

Rajan added: 'Either we end the fossil fuel era, or the fossil fuel era will end us.

'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.'

Rajan, a civil rights advocate from Birmingham, was previously arrested during a JSO protest at the Kingsbury Oil Terminal. He was sentenced to 34 days in prison after he and more than 50 other activists blocked access to the site in September 2022.

English Heritage describes Stonehenge as perhaps the world's most famous prehistoric monument.

It was built in several stages, with the first an early henge monument erected about 5,000 years ago.

The stone circle was erected in the late Neolithic period, about 2,500 BC. Burial mounds were built nearby in the early Bronze Age.

Stonehenge, together with Avebury, forms the heart of a World Heritage Site.

English Heritage describes Stonehenge as perhaps the world's most famous prehistoric monument

The Just Stop Oil incident came just a day beforethe summer solstice is celebrated at Stonehenge. Revellers are pictured during last year's celebrations

Revelers perform yoga soon after sun rise at the ancient stone circle Stonehenge to celebrate the Summer Solstice in 2019

It is not the first time the eco-group has attempted to disrupt an event using canisters containing orange paint.

Earlier this month, two silver-hairedprotesters were led away by police after unleashing a cloud of orange paint at the Duke of Westminster's society wedding of the year to Olivia Hanson.

Two women, 73 and 69, let off a fire extinguisher containing orange powder paint in the direction of the wedding party, which included the Prince of Wales, as they left Chester Cathedral.

The protesters, who have since been arrested, were quickly removed from the crowd by police as onlookers booed. They were named by JSO as Polly, 73, a care worker from Norfolk, and Sheila, 69, a former NHS nurse from Bristol.

Hugh Grosvenor, 33, universally known as 'Hughie' to aristocratic friends, is estimated to be worth £10.42billion, making him the richest man under 40 in Britain.

The landowner, who married Olivia Henson, is the godfather to William's son Prince George and Prince Harry's son Archie. But while William played a major role at the service among 400 or so expected guests, Harry remained in California.

Olivia, 31, looked stunning in her wedding dress and blue shoes as she left the 11th Century Cathedral alongside her new husband as they made their way to a waiting Bentley.

But at around 12.30pm, two Just Stop Oil fanatics used fire extinguishers to spray powder paint in their direction.

Barbara Williams, 81, from Cheshire, who was standing next to the protesters in the crowd, said: 'I feel a bit shaken after it.

'We were standing next to them all day.'

A Just Stop Oil protester is led away by police after trying to disrupt the Duke of Westminster's Wedding on June 7

A second silver-haired protester was also arrested following the killjoy stunt

The moment clouds of powder paint were released from two fire extinguishers

Two women let off a fire extinguisher containing the orange powder paint in the direction of the wedding party, which included the Prince of Wales

Her friend Andrea Machin, 56, added: 'They were already here when we arrived at 7am, they had shopping trolleys with them.

'Everyone was watching the bride and groom and then we just saw orange and they had what looked like a fire extinguisher with them.

'The police realised quite quickly what was happening and pulled them out. One of them said it was for her grandchildren. It happened just as William was coming out of the door.'

Rhona Dalziel, 57, said: 'One of them had been reading a Richard Osman book. It's bizarre.'

A spokesman for Cheshire Police told MailOnline: 'Shortly after 1pm on Friday a coloured flare was released by two women, believed to be protesting on behalf of Just Stop Oil, on St Werburgh Street, Chester.

'Officers were immediately on the scene and two women were quickly arrested on suspicion of public order offences.

'The 69-year-old woman from Manchester and 73-year-old woman from Suffolk are both in police custody at this time.'

Just Stop Oil spray Stonehenge with orange paint (2024)


Why was Stonehenge sprayed with orange paint? ›

Two climate activists were arrested in England after they sprayed an orange powder on the monoliths at Stonehenge in what they said was an attempt to bring attention to the climate impact of fossil fuels.

What did Just Stop Oil spray on Stonehenge? ›

Orange powder paint sprayed on to part of Stonehenge by activists has been removed. Two Just Stop Oil protesters were arrested, after spraying the historic site near Salisbury, Wiltshire, with cornflour at about 12:00 BST on Wednesday.

What is the orange paint used by Just Stop Oil? ›

Just Stop Oil said the orange powder paint was cornflour and it would "wash away with rain". The group named the two protesters as Niamh Lynch, a 21-year-old student from Oxford, and Rajan Naidu, a 73-year-old from Birmingham, in a statement.

Why did protesters paint Stonehenge? ›

Protesters sprayed part of Stonehenge with orange paint Wednesday, calling on the British government to take action on climate change a day before thousands are expected to flock to the 5,000-year-old site in southern England to celebrate the summer solstice.

What is the orange powder Just Stop Oil? ›

Just Stop Oil said its motivation was to demand the next UK government to end the extraction and burning of oil, gas and coal by 2030. The group said the orange powder paint was cornflour and would "wash away with rain".

What does orange spray paint mean? ›

YELLOW: Gas, Oil, Steam, Petroleum or Gaseous Materials. ORANGE: Communication, Alarm or Signal Lines, Cables or Conduits. BLUE: Potable, Water. GREEN: Sewers and Drain Lines. PURPLE: Reclaimed Water, Irrigation and Slurry Lines.

Why is oil-based paint illegal? ›

Toxicity: Oil-based paints are highly toxic and can harm fish and wildlife, as well as pollute groundwater if dumped on the ground. If used in closed areas, volatile organic compounds in paints can irritate eyes, skin, and lungs and cause headaches and nausea.

What is just stop oil? ›

Just Stop Oil is a British extreme environmental activist group primarily focused on the issue of human-caused climate change. The group aims to convince the British government to commit to ending new fossil fuel licensing and production using civil resistance, direct action, traffic obstruction, and vandalism.

What is the closest paint to oil paint? ›

Acrylics Most Like Oil Paints.

Is Stonehenge damaged? ›

Workers cleaned the stones and the roughly 4,500-year-old monument was visibly undamaged, said Nick Merriman, the chief executive of English Heritage. “It's difficult to understand and we're deeply saddened,” Merriman told BBC Radio 4. “It's vandalism to one of the world's most celebrated ancient monuments.”

Why was Stonehenge closed to the public? ›

Eventually, Stonehenge was turned over to the nation, and visitors' access was restricted. As visitorship increased, the grass in the center of the stones died from being trampled by 815,000 people each year. In 1977, the stones were roped off so people couldn't climb on them any longer.

Who vandalized Stonehenge? ›

Two protesters, named by Just Stop Oil as student Niamh Lynch, 21, and Rajan Naidu, 73, have been arrested. English Heritage, which cares for the neolithic site, said the attack had caused particular distress because many people around the world see Stonehenge as a sacred site.

What is the color of Stonehenge? ›

From a distance the stones of Stonehenge can all look disappointingly alike. But close up the colours are amazing. Some of the Bluestones are a deep blue, the Sarsens grey with Lichens adding splotches of white and the iron in the Sarsens staining the damp hollows deep red.

Why did they fix Stonehenge? ›

The Society backed them and the Ministry of Works accepted the proposals for restoration on the basis that they 'would enhance the value of the monument for the student and make it more intelligent to the ordinary visitor'. This major engineering project and associated excavations began in 1958 and continued into 1959.

Were the builders of Stonehenge black? ›

Recent genetic analysis has shown that the inhabitants of Britain in the period when Stonehenge was completed, around 2,500 BC, were pale-skinned early farmers whose ancestors had spread from Anatolia.

Does Stonehenge have graffiti? ›

Graffiti old and new is present on many of the stones at Stonehenge. Stone 52 bears the name Wren and is thought to have been carved by St Pauls Cathedral architect Sir Christopher Wren, whose family had a home nearby.

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