Moment hero tourists grab Just Stop Oil spraying paint on Stonehenge, as activists 'damage rare lichen'

19 June 2024, 15:31

The tourists trying to stop Stonehenge being vandalised
The tourists trying to stop Stonehenge being vandalised. Picture: Just Stop Oil

By Kit Heren

This is the moment heroic tourists stepped in to grab Just Stop Oil activists who were vandalising Stonehenge.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The eco-activists sprayed at least two of the giant, ancient stone monoliths with containers of a substance described as orange powder paint the day before the UK’s summer solstice.

As they vandalised Stonehenge, the two visitors could be seen coming across and trying to pull the activists away. Police said two people had been arrested.

English Heritage, which is responsible for Stonehenge, said the vandalism was "extremely upsetting".

They added: "Orange powdered paint has been thrown at a number of the stones at Stonehenge. Obviously, this is extremely upsetting and our curators are investigating the extent of the damage. More updates to follow but the site remains open."

Just Stop Oil said that the paint was powder based and would wash off. But a Stonehenge-focused blog said that there were "multiple rare lichen species growing on the stones" that may have been damaged by the paint.

Read more: Eco activists Just Stop Oil desecrate Stonehenge with orange spray in latest radical climate protest

Read more: Thousands gather to celebrate summer solstice at Stonehenge as UK to get 16 hours of sunlight

Eco-protest group appears to vandalise Stone Henge with orange paint ahead of Summer Solstice

Just Stop Oil said it wants "the incoming UK government commit to working with other governments to agree an equitable plan to end the extraction and burning of oil, gas and coal by 2030."

A spokesperson said: “The UK’s government in waiting has committed to enacting Just Stop Oil’s original demand of ‘no new oil and gas’.

"However, we all know this is not enough. 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. That’s why Just Stop Oil is demanding that our next government sign up to a legally binding treaty to phase out fossil fuels by 2030."

Wiltshire police said two people had been arrested. “Our enquiries are ongoing and we are working closely with English Heritage,” the force added.

Explaining why they chose to target Stonehenge, the group said: "Stone circles can be found in every part of Europe showing how we’ve always cooperated across vast distances – we’re building on that legacy.”

Protester Niamh Lynch, 21, a student from Oxford, said: “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.

“It’s time for us to think about what our civilisation will leave behind – what is our legacy?

"Standing inert for generations works well for stones – not climate policy.”Summer solstice is celebrated by thousands of pagans across the world."

The group sprayed two of the Stonehenge monoliths with orange paint
The group sprayed two of the Stonehenge monoliths with orange paint. Picture: Just Stop Oil

English Heritage describes Stonehenge as perhaps the world's most famous prehistoric monument.

Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer have both condemned the vandalism.

Labour leader Sir Keir said: "The damage done to Stonehenge is outrageous. Just Stop Oil are pathetic. Those responsible must face the full force of the law."

The PM said: "This is a disgraceful act of vandalism to one of the UK’s and the world’s oldest and most important monuments.”

It was built in several stages, with the first an early henge monument erected about 5,000 years ago.

The stone circle was erected in the late Neolithic period, about 2,500 BC. Burial mounds were built nearby in the early Bronze Age.

Stonehenge, together with Avebury, forms the heart of a World Heritage Site.

Many gather at Stonehenge for the summer solstice as it is believed to have been an important religious site thousands of years ago.

On the summer solstice, the central Altar stone at Stonehenge aligns with the Heel stone, the Slaughter stone and the rising Sun to the north east.

Hundreds of people gather there each year to celebrate the solstice.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Mark Rowley says the number of officers in the Met is falling

Met Police officer numbers drop as force calls for 'thousands of applicants' in new recruitment drive

Joe Biden has tested positive for Covid

Joe Biden cancels campaign event after testing positive for Covid-19

Starmer is set to push for a migrant return deal with the EU

Starmer to push for new migrant return deal with EU, as he seeks to 'renew UK's relationship with Europe' at summit

Keir Starmer faces a challenge over the two-child benefit cap

Keir Starmer seeks to stave off Labour backbench revolt over benefit cap with child poverty taskforce

A man has been shot dead in Kirkby

Man shot dead on residential street close to Liverpool training ground, as police launch murder investigation

Joe Biden has hinted he could step aside from the race against Donald Trump for the White House

Biden hints he could quit election race against Trump on medical advice, as top Democrat calls for him to stand down

The scandal surrounding Strictly Come Dancing has deepened after footage showing former professional dancer James Jordan telling his celebrity partner Georgina Bouzova "kill you" surfaced on social media.

Strictly scandal deepens as footage showing ex-pro telling partner he will 'kill her' emerges

Liz Truss

Reference to Truss' 'disaster' mini-budget removed from King's Speech files after ex-PM complains to civil service chief

Police found "over a dozen" firearms at Crooks' home

Thomas Crooks' father 'called police on the day of the Trump rally shooting'

Cameron Jones left his dying fiancee Demi by the side of the road

Moment driver flees from car wreckage leaving fiancee to die - before he later blames her for horror crash

Kim Johnson wants the two-child benefit cap to be scrapped

Labour MP calls for two-child benefit cap to be axed as she plans King's Speech amendment after policy retained

Adele has played 90 shows in Las Vegas

Adele announces she is stepping back from music after growing to ‘absolutely hate’ fame

Two British travel agents are believed to be the pair found shot dead and their bodies burned in a car in Malmo.

British travel agents thought to be pair shot dead and burned in car in Malmo

Two dead and two children in hospital after house fire in Blackpool

Two die and two children rushed to hospital after house fire in Blackpool

Locals have been warned to avoid the area

Locals warned 'do not open your doors' as huge fire erupts on Birmingham industrial estate

Joe Biden his facing pressure to step down ahead of November's election.

Joe Biden wrongly claims he will cap rent rises at $55 in latest gaffe