Oil protestors plead not guilty to sabotaging Van Gogh painting
No damage to the 1880s painting, which is estimated at a value of $80.99 million, was reported.
Media outlets reported that the climate activists, famous for throwing soup at Vincent Van Gogh’s famous “Sunflowers” painting at the National Gallery in London, appeared on Saturday in a London court on charges of criminal damages.
Protesting as part of the Just Stop Oil campaign group, the two women pleaded not guilty on Friday at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court during the hearings after they spilled two cans of tomato soup over the oil painting.
According to the London Metropolitan Police, the protesters had to be removed by specialists after they glued themselves to the gallery wall.
No damage to the 1880s painting, which is estimated at a value of $80.99 million, was reported, per a spokesperson for the museum.
The spokesperson told CNBC: “There is some minor damage to the frame but the painting is unharmed,” as the painting is protected with glass, so it was cleaned and returned to the Gallery later Friday.
The campaign's protest in London has been going on for two weeks, and its group has released a press statement saying that the actions taken were “in response to the government’s inaction on both the cost of living crisis and the climate crisis.”
One activist said in a video: “What is worth more, art or life? Is it worth more than food? Worth more than justice? Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting or the protection of our planet and people?”
Widespread criticism has been hit at the campaign from environmental groups and politicians from the opposition Labour Party following their protests recently for their techniques of protesting, labeled "disruptive".
Protestors from the campaign attempted to breach the gates of Downing Street on Tuesday as part of a widely publicized campaign to halt new oil and gas exploration in Britain. The Prime Minister's official residence is located on a street Just Stop Oil activists attempted to enter, but they were unsuccessful.