UK climate change protesters throw soup at van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’

October 15, 2022 - 8:00 AM
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Activists of "Just Stop Oil" glue their hands to the wall after throwing soup at a van Gogh's painting "Sunflowers" at the National Gallery in London, Britain Oct. 14, 2022. (Just Stop Oil/Handout via)

Climate change protesters threw soup over Vincent van Gogh’s painting “Sunflowers” at London’s National Gallery on Friday, causing minor damage to the frame.

A video posted by the Just Stop Oil campaign group, which has been holding protests for the last two weeks in the British capital, showed two women throwing two tins of Heinz tomato soup over the painting, one of five versions on display in museums and galleries around the world.

They then glued themselves to a wall.

“There is some minor damage to the frame but the painting is unharmed,” the gallery said in a statement.

Police said both women had been arrested for criminal damage and aggravated trespass.

“Specialist officers have now un-glued them and they have been taken into custody at a central London police station,” a statement on Twitter said.

The National Gallery, which says it houses one of the greatest collections of paintings in the world, said the ‘Sunflowers’, which dates to 1888, was one of its most popular.

“It is the painting that is most often reproduced on cards, posters, mugs, tea-towels and stationery. It was also the picture that Van Gogh was most proud of,” the gallery says on its website.

Just Stop Oil said the painting has an estimated value of more than $84 million.

The protest is the latest by the group’s activists and comes after days in which they blocked roads around parliament and government departments to Britain halts all new oil and gas projects.

Last Sunday, police said that more than 100 people had been arrested after a weekend of protest-related activity by environmental groups.

—Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by James Davey, Gareth Jones and Andrew Heavens