UK Climate Protesters Cover Stonehenge In Orange Paint Ahead Of Election

A pair of climate protesters were arrested Wednesday at the U.K.’s Stonehenge monument after they sprayed the 5,000-year-old rocks with orange paint, British police said.

The protesters, 21-year-old Niamh Lynch and 73-year-old Rajan Naidu, are part of Just Stop Oil, a group that says it wants the British government to “establish a legally binding treaty to stop extraction and burning of oil, gas and coal by 2030” alongside other nations.

With a national election set for July 4, Just Stop Oil is demanding that the incoming British government take action to “phase out” fossil fuels within a six-year period.

The paint is allegedly cornstarch-based, and is supposed to wash away in the rain, although the area is not expected to see rain before the weekend.

The monument receives a swell of visitors each summer solstice. This year’s solstice is Thursday.

Just Stop Oil protesters sit in front of Stonehenge after dousing it with orange paint.
Just Stop Oil protesters sit in front of Stonehenge after dousing it with orange paint. Just Stop Oil

Lynch and Naidu were stopped by concerned bystanders, who took their canisters of paint, leaving them to sit cross-legged in front of the monument.

“Our enquiries are ongoing, and we are working closely with English Heritage,” Wiltshire police said in a statement, referring to the charity that manages historic sites around the U.K.

Just Stop Oil issued a statement Wednesday acknowledging that the Labour Party has committed to stopping future oil and gas drilling licenses if they win.

“However, we all know this is not enough,” a spokesperson said. “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.”

Lynch, a student from Oxford, said in a statement: “Stonehenge at solstice is all about celebrating the natural world — but look at the state it’s in! We all have a right to live a life free from suffering, but continued burning of oil, coal and gas is leading to death and suffering on an unparalleled scale.”

Naidu, who is from Birmingham, added: “Either we end the fossil fuel era, or the fossil fuel era will end us.”