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Just Stop Oil activists smash National Gallery painting famously targeted by suffragette in 1914, as two arrested
6 November 2023, 13:02 | Updated: 6 November 2023, 13:05
Two Just Stop Oil activists have been arrested for criminal damage after smashing the glass that was protecting a painting at the National Portrait Gallery.
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The protesters smashed the glass protecting The Rokeby Venus painting by Diego Velazquez in the 1600s - the same painting famously slashed by suffragette Mary Richardson in 1914.
A video shared online by the climate activist group showed the pair in white Just Stop Oil slogan t-shirts before hitting the glass repeatedly with safety hammers. The glass is shown as visibly cracked.
The pair then say: “Women did not get the vote by voting; it is time for deeds not words. It is time to Just Stop Oil.
"Politics is failing us. It failed women in 1914 and it is failing us now.
"New oil and gas will kill millions. If we love art, if we love life, if we love our families, we must Just Stop Oil."
Posting to X, the Met Police said following the incident: “Two Just Stop Oil activists have been arrested for criminal damage. The glass protecting a painting at the National Portrait Gallery has been vandalised."
Mary Richardson first slashed the painting in 1914 in a demonstration for the Suffragette movement.
She said at the time: “I have tried to destroy the picture of the most beautiful woman in mythological history as a protest against the government for destroying Mrs. Pankhurst, who is the most beautiful character in modern history.”
Just Stop Oil named the pair as Hanan, 22, and Harrison, 20, who have since been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.
🦺 | Two Just Stop Oil activists have been arrested for criminal damage.— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) November 6, 2023
The glass protecting a painting at the National Gallery has been vandalised.
We will provide updates of JSO activity for today on this thread.
The climate group shared a video of the act on X, writing: “Today, our government revealed plans for MORE oil licences, knowing full when it will kill millions. In response, two supporters of Just Stop Oil smashed the Rokeby Venus — previously slashed by suffragette, Mary Richardson in 1914.”
It came as at least 40 Just Stop Oil activists were also arrested on Monday after a group targeted Whitehall, police said.
Over 100 activists from Just Stop Oil staged a slow march down Whitehall, with others staging a ‘die-in’ protest next to the Cenotaph.
The group obstructed traffic near Downing Street were arrested and placed on and around the Cenotaph by police, according to protesters and an officer.