Stonehenge vandalized by environmental extremists

News & Politics

One of the most iconic prehistoric monuments in the world is currently covered in orange paint, thanks to two members of a radical environmental group notorious for damaging valuable property and bringing traffic on busy thoroughfares to a frustrating halt.

At around noon on Wednesday, Rajan Naidu, 73, and Niamh Lynch, 21, of Just Stop Oil stormed the grounds of Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, and apparently began spraying orange powder paint on the stone edifices. Others standing nearby noticed the two vandals and attempted to stop them, to little avail. Video of the incident can be viewed here.

‘Either we end the fossil fuel era, or the fossil fuel era will end us.’

According to an X post from Stonehenge curators, “a number of the stones” have been doused in the paint. An investigation into this “extremely upsetting” incident is underway, but the site remains open to the public.

Wiltshire Police arrested Naidu and Lynch “on suspicion of damaging the ancient monument,” the agency said in a statement. The pair seemed to time the incident to occur on the eve of the Summer Solstice, when thousands of visitors from around the world gather at Stonehenge to mark the longest day of the year.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak slammed the activist group as a “disgrace.” “Just Stop Oil should be ashamed of their activists, and they and anyone associated with them … should issue a condemnation of this shameful act immediately,” he added.

Despite the strong words from the prime minister, Naidu and Lynch do not appear to be “ashamed” at all. Naidu insisted the paint was made up of “cornflour” that “will soon wash away with the rain.” However, the need for radical government intervention “to mitigate the catastrophic consequences of the climate and ecological crisis” remains, he claimed.

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

His alleged coconspirator, Lynch, claimed she and others associated with Just Stop Oil are trying to preserve their generation’s “legacy.” “It’s time for us to think about what our civilization will leave behind,” she said.

“Standing inert for generations works well for stones – not climate policy.”

Mike Pitts, archaeologist and author of “How to Build Stonehenge,” believes that if Just Stop Oil intended to protect the environment, vandalizing Stonehenge was the wrong way to go about it. “A rich garden of life has grown on the megaliths, an exceptional lichen garden has grown,” he said. “So [the attack is] potentially quite concerning.”

Stonehenge is just the latest heritage site or artifact vandalized by Just Stop Oil. The group has also thrown tomato soup at Vincent Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” painting and broken the glass case protecting the Magna Carta at the British Museum.

Members have also incited the wrath of their fellow countrymen in recent years by shutting down major British highways and interrupting popular sporting events. They claim these are acts of “non-violent civil resistance.”

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