Climate Activists Deface Stonehenge, Spark Political Uproar in UK

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As the sun rose over London on a crisp Wednesday morning, a ghastly hue was cast over the ancient monument of Stonehenge nestled in the southern English plains. Two climate activists, acting on behalf of the group Just Stop Oil, descended upon the hallowed edifice, disrupting its serenity by spraying its towering monoliths with an outrageous splash of orange paint.

Skies echoed with uproar as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, in a fit of indignance, dubbed the incident a “disgracious act of vandalism.” Meanwhile, Labour leader Keir Starmer, Sunak’s key adversary in the upcoming election, lambasted the group calling their deed “pathetic,” branding the damage inflicted on the stone circle as “outrageous.”

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The striking display of defiance came just as people were readying themselves to assemble at the approximately 4,500-year-old monument in their thousands to hail the impending luminosity of the summer solstice, marking the zenith of daylight in the Northern Hemisphere.

The overseers of this revered monolith, English Heritage, expressed their grief over the incident terming it as “extremely upsetting.” A thorough investigation of the defacement is underway. However, in a meek attempt to justify their action, Just Stop Oil claimed the auburn paint was derived from cornstarch and would harmlessly dissolve in rain.

A video circulated by Just Stop Oil exhibited a man, revealed to be Rajan Naidu, 73, unleashing an unsettling cloud of orange onto one of the monumental columns with a device resembling a fire extinguisher. As cries of protest filled the air, an anonymous hero adorned with a ballcap and raincoat raced toward the scene and furiously tugged at Naidu in an attempt to remove him from the monument. A second valiant bystander in a blue shirt assisted in disarming the vandal.

Niamh Lynch, 21, the second member of this audacious duo, managed to tarnish three stones herself before being caught by the same valiant hat-clad bystander. Wiltshire Police reported that both offenders were apprehended under the suspicion of damaging one of the world’s most esteemed prehistoric monuments, a crown jewel of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

Stonehenge, a testament to the ingenuity of prehistoric England, has rested on Salisbury Plain for over five millennia; with its singular stone circle rising in the late Neolithic period approximately around 2,500 B.C.

Just Stop Oil is among several environmental groups across Europe generating controversy as they choose to draw attention to inflammation of global warming through sabotaging sports events, splattering paint onto irreplaceable works of art, and causing traffic disruptions.

The group stated that their provocative act was a response to the Labour Party’s recent election manifesto. While Labour has vowed not to issue further permits for oil and gas exploration, should it gain victory in the July 4 election, Just Stop Oil espouses this moratorium but insists that it’s insufficient. The group has urged Labour, presently leading the polls and widely anticipated to lead the next government, to take a more stringent measure by committing to a treaty to phase out fossil fuels by 2030.

In a bold proclamation, the group claimed that “continuing to burn coal, oil, and gas will result in the death of millions.”

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Melinda Cochrane is a poet, teacher and fiction author. She is also the editor and publisher of The Inspired Heart, a collection of international writers. Melinda also runs a publishing company, Melinda Cochrane International books for aspiring writers, based out Montreal, Quebec. Her publication credits include: The art of poetic inquiry, (Backalong Books), a novella, Desperate Freedom, (Brian Wrixon Books Canada), and 2 collections of poetry; The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, (Backalong Books), and She’s an Island Poet, Desperate Freedom was on the bestseller's list for one week, and The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat is one of hope and encouragement for all those living in the social welfare system. She’s been published in online magazines such as, (regular writer for) ‘Life as a Human’, and Shannon Grissom’s magazine.