Just Stop Oil vandalise 200-year-old Wellington Arch, spraying central London monument with orange paint

25 October 2023, 11:26 | Updated: 25 October 2023, 13:30

Just Stop Oil vandalised Wellington Arch
Just Stop Oil vandalised Wellington Arch. Picture: Just Stop Oil

By Kit Heren

Just Stop Oil protesters have sprayed the Wellington Arch in central London with orange paint.

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The environmental activists want the government to stop granting new oil and gas drilling licences, because of the threat of climate change.

They disrupt traffic and large scale events to protest and draw attention to their political goals, infuriating many and drawing support from others who back their radical efforts to combat the climate crisis.

Workers clean Just Stop Oil paint from the columns of Marble Arch

Just Stop Oil daubed the arch with orange paint
Just Stop Oil daubed the arch with orange paint. Picture: LBC/Lillie Almond

Their latest stunt on Wednesday morning was to set off flares and splash orange paint over the Grade I-listed arch on Hyde Park corner.

The corner is a traffic island next to a busy road junction, linking Victoria, the West End and Knightsbridge.

Read more: Just Stop Oil bid to block first migrants from returning to Bibby Stockholm barge

Read more: Just Stop Oil 'targets Strictly as activists plot infiltrating audience' to disrupt programme in front of millions

Police at the scene after the arch was sprayed with orange paint
Police at the scene after the arch was sprayed with orange paint. Picture: LBC/Lillie Almond

Joshua Lane, a 26-year-old engineer from Sheffield who took part in the vandalism, said: "I am compelled to take action due to the severity, and sheer emergency we find ourselves in today.

"Future generations live in uncertainty, and we are given false promises time after time by endless pantomime governments.

"Humanity faces the biggest crisis in history, and yet the government continuously ignores the facts, and only thinks of themselves and the billionaire oil barons they serve.

Just Stop Oil at the Wellington Arch
Just Stop Oil at the Wellington Arch. Picture: Just Stop Oil

"One thing that cannot be ignored is the power of ordinary people, and our voices are only continuing to grow louder."

Joe Hogan, another activist, claimed that "traditional, managed, sanitised forms of protest have done nothing".

"The only way forward is through sustained, disruptive civil resistance," he said.

. Picture: Just Stop Oil

Police arrested the three activists for criminal damage. The protesters had waited at the scene for officers to arrive.

In a statement, Just Stop Oil also linked the recent bad weather caused by Storm Babet with climate change.

. Picture: Just Stop Oil

The activists called for people to march in London this Sunday to protest the government's energy policies.

The Wellington Arch was built from 1826-1830, nearly 200 years ago, to commemorate Britain's victory over France in the Napoleonic wars, along with Marble Arch on the north side of Hyde Park.

Wellington Arch without the paint
Wellington Arch without the paint. Picture: Alamy

The Met said: "Police were made aware of Just Stop Oil protestors spraying paint on Wellington Arch today (Wednesday, 25 October) at 10:19hrs.

"Officers that were nearby immediately responded.

"Three people have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage."

Just Stop Oil have previously only been focused on climate change. But this week the activists tried to block the first asylum seekers from returning to the Bibby Stockholm barge two months after it was evacuated after legionella was found on board.

They managed to temporarily halt the coach, which had around 30 migrants on board, before being forced to give up.

A Just Stop Oil spokesman said: “We know that our government’s plan for new oil and gas is going to lead to more people being displaced from their homes. Forced from where they have lived for generations due to the actions of our failing politicians.

"People coming to the UK must be met with common humanity, and not housed in prison ships. This is a slide towards concentration camps and we will not let it happen, not on our watch. We are taking action today to show love and solidarity with all people coming to this country."

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