'Punch me on the nose and I won't listen': Andrew Marr destroys Just Stop Oil protests over painting stunts

27 October 2022, 18:50

Marr takes on Just Stop Oil protesters
Marr takes on Just Stop Oil protesters. Picture: LBC/Twitter

By Will Taylor

Andrew Marr has taken on Just Stop Oil protesters and said they will never get public sympathy if they keep attacking works of art and picking fights with the average commuter.

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Just Stop Oil protesters targeted a the Girl With A Pearl Earring at the Mauritshuis museum in the Hague, Netherlands.

The priceless work by Johannes Vermeer is not thought to have been damaged. One protester also tried to glue his head to the painting.

A man wearing a Just Stop Oil shirt, shouted: "How do you feel when you see something beautiful and priceless being apparently destroyed before your eyes? Do you feel outrage? Good.

"That is the feeling when you see the planet being destroyed before our very eyes."

But LBC's Andrew Marr fired back: "Now I know very well that was protected by glass, a relief.

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Andrew Marr believes there's a 'really big psychological mistake' being made by eco-protesters

"And I think that the threat to the planet from climate change and species extinction is by far the biggest challenge facing mankind today.

"But I also believe there is a really big psychological mistake being made by these protesters. They think or seem to think that if you attack something people love, they will stop and listen to your arguments afresh.

You can also listen to the podcast Tonight with Andrew Marr only on Global Player.

"Or if you make people really angry, for instance, by keeping them stuck in their cars on a suburban road, the drivers and passengers will become thoughtful and interested in the nuances of your case.

"Now it ain't true, guys. Anger and offence by and large stop people from listening, stop them from engaging - not the reverse.

"If you come up to me and say, Andrew, respectfully I think you are wrong about X or Y, I will probably pause, and I will listen, and I will think.

"If you come up and punch me on the nose - less likely. The world is beautiful and, yes, the world is threatened.

"The beauty comes from people, as well as plants, animals and landscape. The beauty comes from sea creatures but also from a pale girl with a pearl in her ear; and it comes from wild roses but also from van Gogh's sunflowers."

"The climate crisis is urgent, but there is not enough beauty in the world, we need more of it and we need open conversations, not less of it, and confrontation."

A visitor shouted "shame on you!" at the museum protesters. Police said they made arrests for public violence against property.

The demonstration followed Just Stop Oil throwing tomato soup over Vincent van Gogh's sunflowers at the National Gallery in London and hurling mashed potatoes at a Monet in Germany.

They have targeted several artworks in a bid to outrage and draw attention to the climate crisis, and recently closed off traffic on the Dartford Crossing when two protesters scaled it, prompting police to shut the bridge for more than a day.