Climate Activists Vandalize Stonehenge, Prompting Swift Restoration and Public Outrage

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On a windswept plain in Southern England, the age-old monoliths of Stonehenge, with a history stretching back over four millennia, stood unmarred despite climate activists’ vandalistic attempts to spray them with orange paint. English Heritage officials noted with relief early Thursday morning that after swift measures to clean the stones, no discernible damage to the globally renowned monument was apparent.

The act of vandalism perpetrated by the protestors was met with dismay and incredulity by many, including Nick Merriman, CEO of English Heritage. In an interview with BBC Radio 4, Merriman expressed how incomprehensible such an act was. “It’s vandalism to one of the world’s most celebrated ancient monuments, and we’re deeply saddened by the occurrence,” he remarked.

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Following the incident, Stonehenge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, swung open its doors once again. Thousands were expected to throng the site to partake in the jubilations of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

With a history and purpose steeped in enigma, Stonehenge was built in stages, beginning 5000 years ago. The stone circle aligns with the summer solstice sunrise and winter solstice sunset. This phenomenon draws spiritualists, druids and sun worshippers from all over, serving as a hub of cultural and spiritual significance.

Authorities released a 73-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman on bail Thursday, who had been detained on suspicion of criminal damage, damaging an ancient monument and inhibiting a person from participating in lawful activities.

Apparently, there was no jest in the actions of “Just Stop Oil,” the climate-change activism group, who claimed responsibility for the audacious act. A video clip released by the group showed a man, identified as Rajan Naidu, discharging orange fog from a fire extinguisher at one of the towering stones of the monument.

Bystanders, shocked by the act, made vocal their objections shouting, “stop.” One individual even confronted Naidu, attempting to pull him away from the monument. As the struggle ensued, a second man joined in, wrestling the extinguisher away.

Despite intervention, a second protestor, Niamh Lynch, managed to spray three more stones before she was subdued. The group affirmed that the paint was cornstarch-based and was expected to wash off in the rain.

Acknowledging the group’s antics, Merriman decried that experts rushed in to eliminate the orange powder from the stones, due to uncertainties surrounding its reaction to water.

The demonstration at Stonehenge is one in a series of provocative acts by “Just Stop Oil” aimed to amplify attention to the ongoing climate crisis. Their protests have disrupted sporting events, tarnished renowned works of art, and triggered massive traffic congestion. Such acts have drawn severe criticism, led to arrests, and even resulted in jail terms.

British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, strongly condemned the Stonehenge incident as a “disgraceful act of vandalism.” Keir Starmer, the opposition leader in the upcoming election, derided the group as “pathetic,” labeling the damage inflicted outrageously wrong.

Unfazed, “Just Stop Oil” took responsibility for another act of defiance on Friday, spray painting private jets at an airport on London’s outskirts. The incident culminated in the arrest of two women.