Just Stop Oil Protests Fossil Fuels by Blasting Stonehenge With Orange Paint

The spraying took place ahead of the summer solstice, when many people gather at Stonehenge to watch the sunrise.

Lauren Wellbank - Author

Jun. 19 2024, Published 2:28 p.m. ET

The grounds at Stonehenge will be full of visitors watching the sunrise during the summer solstice. But, when they get there on June 20, 2024 they will see more than the moment the sun aligns perfectly with the manmade rock formation. They will also discover that the stones have been painted orange during a protest by the environmental group Just Stop Oil.

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Keep reading to learn more about what they're protesting and to find out how the orange paint will interfere with planned solstice celebrations.

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Just Stop Oil "vandalized" Stonehenge in a climate protest.

Supporters of the Just Stop Oil movement quickly took responsibility for the painting, posting a press release to their official website documenting what went down. According to the statement, two supporters — 21-year-old Niamh Lynch and a 73-year-old Rajan Naidu — colored the rocks orange around noon local time on June 19, 2024. The incident happened in response to a Labour party promise to halt any future new oil and gas projects should the political party be elected to office.

“The UK’s government in waiting has committed to enacting Just Stop Oil’s original demand of ‘no new oil and gas.' However, we all know this is not enough," the statement from the organization said in part. "Continuing to burn coal, oil and gas will result in the death of millions. We have to come together to defend humanity or we risk everything. That’s why Just Stop Oil is demanding that our next government sign up to a legally binding treaty to phase out fossil fuels by 2030."

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If the Labour party fails to hold up their end of the bargain if elected, Just Stop Oil says that supporters from around the world will join their fight, including residents living in Canada, Switzerland, Austria, Norway, and the Netherlands.

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Naidu stressed the urgency of this agreement from world leaders in his own personal statement on the website. "Either we end the fossil fuel era, or the fossil fuel era will end us," he said. "Just as fifty years ago, when the world used international treaties to defuse the threats posed by nuclear weapons, today the world needs a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty to phase out fossil fuels and to support dependent economies, workers and communities to move away from oil, gas and coal.''

Did Just Stop Oil's protest damage Stonehenge?

Those worried about the landmark need not worry about whether or not the orange paint powder will stain, according to the statement, which says the spray was never meant to damage the rocks. “The orange corn flour we used to create an eye-catching spectacle will soon wash away with the rain, but the urgent need for effective government action to mitigate the catastrophic consequences of the climate and ecological crisis will not. Sign the treaty!”

While those who gather at Stonehenge on Thursday to watch the sunrise will likely do it next to orange rocks, both Lynch and Naidu may have to wait until next year to get a chance to attend, as both protesters were arrested Wednesday after spraying Stonehenge Orange, according to the Associated Press. Whether their protest will get the results they're looking for remains to be seen.

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