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England: Two, including Indian-origin climate ‘activist’ of ‘Just Stop Oil’ group desecrate 5000-year-old Stonehenge, arrested

In the video, the two men, wearing 'Just Stop Oil' branded T-shirts, can be seen running towards the ancient structure with canisters of orange powder paint and vandalising it.

On Wednesday, June 20, the UK police arrested two ‘Just Stop Oil’ protestors for vandalising Stonehenge, the megalithic standing stones in England. The accused climate ‘activists’ were identified as Rajan Naidu (73) and Niamh Lynch, a 21-year-old student. Naidu was arrested earlier too in 2022 for breaking an injunction.

The UK-based group, notorious for its disruptive protests, took to X to post a video where the accused can be seen spraying an orange substance on the renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the video, the two men, wearing ‘Just Stop Oil’ branded T-shirts, can be seen running towards the ancient structure with canisters of orange powder paint and vandalising it.

They were demanding the next British government to legally commit to phasing out fossil fuels by 2030.

While ‘Just Stop Oil’ claimed that the paint sprayed was “orange cornflour” and would soon wash away with the rain, said experts managing the heritage site are probing “the extent of the damage”.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the incident, calling it a “disgraceful act of vandalism”.

Leader of the Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer said the damage was “outrageous” and described Just Stop Oil as “pathetic”.

Stonehenge- the renowned World Heritage site in England

Stonehenge was built in several stages, with the first being an early henge monument erected about 5000 years ago on Salisbury Plain in England. The stone circle was erected in the late Neolithic period, around 2,500 BC. Stonehenge is a renowned World Heritage site that attracts one million visitors annually.

The bigger stones at Stonehenge, known as sarsens, weigh 25 tons (22.6 metric tons) on average and are widely believed to have been brought from Marlborough Downs, 20 miles (32 kilometres) to the north, according to English Heritage, an organization that oversees Stonehenge.

Most of the monument’s smaller stones, referred to as “bluestones” (as they have a bluish tinge when wet or freshly broken), come from quarries in the Preseli Hills in west Wales, about 140 miles (225 km) away from Stonehenge, a U.K. research team found in a 2015 study in the journal Antiquity. These bluestones weigh between 2 and 5 tons (1.8 and 4.5 metric tons) each, according to English Heritage. Scientists are still unsure exactly how prehistoric people moved the stones over such long distances.

‘Just Stop Oil’ and its past antecedents

Just Stop Oil, is a UK-based environmental activist group notorious for its disruptive protests. In October 2022, two protestors of the UK-based group ‘Just Stop Oil’ Marcus Decker and Morgan Trowland disrupted traffic for almost 40 hours on one of the busiest bridges in the United Kingdom. In support of the Just Stop Oil ‘activist’ group, they climbed the cables supporting the Queen Elizabeth II suspension bridge in Dartford, Kent, and stopped the traffic flow. Both of them were convicted of causing a public nuisance. 

As per the activist group, ‘Just Stop Oil’ is a nonviolent civil resistance group. It wants the UK Government should stop licensing all new oil, gas, and coal projects in the country. On their website, the group provokes people to hit the street stating “When petitions don’t work we hit the streets,” amplified multiple times. They appeal to them to join its ongoing ‘Slow March’ luring protestors with two options. If they skip the protest they would have to spend their own money whereas the protestors will enjoy “Free” Breakfast at the Police station and get ‘media attention’ as well. 

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
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