Criminal damage to Van Gogh painting: UK climate activists plead not guilty in London court

LONDON: Hai environmental activistswho threw tomato soup at one of Vincent van GoghThe paintings “Sunflowers” by the National Gallery in London, appeared in a UK Courts Saturday.
After attacking the van Gogh painting, climate activists Just Stop Oil, Anna Holland, 20, and Phoebe Plummer, 21, all pleaded not guilty before a London court to criminal damage.
The painting itself was protected by a screen, but the frame was damaged, according to the gallery in Trafalgar Square.
District Judge Tan Irkam has released the two women on bail, awaiting trial on December 13 in London.
Holland and Plummer were also glued to the gallery wall during their demonstration.
The latest stunt targeting works of art comes after Interior Minister Suella Braverman threatened police to crack down on “live-action” protests, including the group Just Stop Oil.
On Saturday, nearly 30 protesters from the group glued themselves to the runway as they blocked a major road in east London, sparking angry exchanges with motorists.
Another Just Stop Oil rally on Friday targeted the London Metropolitan Police’s New Scotland Yard headquarters, which arrested 28 protesters.
In London court on Saturday, Lora Johnson, 38, pleaded not guilty to criminal damage after allegedly spraying orange paint on the New Scotland Yard sign when others blocked the road outside.
At the Conservative Party’s annual conference this month, Braverman vowed to crack down on “protesters who use guerrilla tactics and bring chaos and misery to the law-abiding majority”.
However, Just Stop Oil argues that climate change poses an existential crisis for humanity and its direct tactics are justified.
“What’s more worthwhile – art or life,” shouted Plummer at the National Gallery on Friday.


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