Just Stop Oil protesters brought down from Dartford Crossing on cherry picker
Just Stop Oil

Onlookers were left shocked last week when protestors from the climate activist group Just Stop Oil threw tomato soup over Vincent Van Gogh’s famous painting, “Sunflowers”.

At the time, the protest was condemned by many, but now one of the protestors involved in the stunt has explained her reason for doing it.

In a clip posted on Twitter, the protestor first confirmed that she had been in court the previous day and was told there was no damage done to the painting as it was behind a glass cover, which she knew prior to the stunt.

She continued: “I recognise that it looks like a slightly ridiculous action. I agree, it is ridiculous. But, we’re not asking the question, ‘Should everybody be throwing soup on paintings?’.

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“What we’re doing is getting the conversation going so we can ask the questions that matter. Questions like, ‘Is it ok that Liz Truss is licensing over 100 new fossil fuel licenses? Is it ok that fossil fuels are subsidised 30 times more than renewables when offshore wind is currently nine times cheaper than fossil fuels?’”

The clip has been viewed 6.4 million times and after taking a moment to consider that the painting was undamaged many have praised her for getting the conversation going.

One person on Twitter wrote: “I think this young woman is inspirational and right. At first, I was shocked by her protest, but once I realised glass was covering the painting, I'm totally on board.

“I'm not brave enough to do anything this, but we have to change our ways as a society, and change them fast.”

Another said: “Eloquent, sensible and a darn sight more compassionate and intelligent than those in Westminster.”

“I was wrong about these kids and admit it, they are totally on it and should be listened to,” wrote another person.

Someone else commented: “Shockingly, outside of the viral clip, these young activists are actually making great points.”

Historian Greg Jenner wrote: "I thought this was a badly executed stunt. Happy to admit I was likely wrong about that."

Elsewhere, two Just Stop Oil protesters who had blocked the Dartford Crossing since Monday morning have been removed from the bridge by police.

In a statement, Chief Superintendent Simon Anslow said: "We cannot tolerate people carrying out activity which puts lives at risk and prevents people from going about their lives.

“I know this has been really frustrating for the public and the disruption has negatively impacted on businesses and meant people have been late for, or missed, appointments.

“Alongside our partners, we worked hard to resolve this complex situation as quickly and safely as possible.

“Now the situation has been resolved, National Highways will make the decision about when and how the bridge can re-open.”

Mr Anslow added: “I want to again reiterate; we are not in any way anti-protest, and we will always seek to facilitate safe protest where we can. However, it is unacceptable for people to think they can put lives in danger with irresponsible actions. In this case, it is clear that we had to act, but that action had to be safe and responsible, and I want to again thank the public for their patience and understanding.”

Additional reporting by PA.

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