Activists in UK court after the soup was thrown at van Gogh’s photo
Three climate activists on Saturday appeared in a London court charged with criminal damages after protests, including throwing soup over Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflower” painting at the National Gallery, appeared in a London court.
Two women, aged 20 and 21, were charged on Friday for protesting against throwing soup. At the same time, a third was accused of spraying paint on a rotating sign at the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police in central London. The three women pleaded not guilty to criminal damages at Westminster Magistrates’ Court during two brief hearings on Saturday.
Protesters from climate change protest groups Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil, which want the UK government to halt new oil and gas projects, staged a Friday series of protests in London.
Just Stop Oil said activists threw two cans of tomato soup at the van Gogh oil painting, one of the Dutch artist’s most iconic works. Both the protesters affixed themselves to the gallery wall.
Prosecutor Ola Oyedepo said the pair did not damage the oil painting, which was covered by a glass protective case, but the frame was damaged.
The painting, one of several versions of “Sunflower”, painted by van Gogh in the late 1880s, was cleaned and returned to its location at the National Gallery on Friday afternoon.
District Judge Tan Ikram released the women on bail because they did not have paint or adhesives in public places.
Police said they made 28 arrests in connection with Friday’s protests, and 25 others were granted bail for further investigation.
Just Stop Oil has attracted attention and criticism for targeting artifacts in museums. In July, activists affixed themselves to the frame of an early copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” at the Royal Academy of Arts in London and John Constable’s “The Hey Wayne” at the National Gallery.