Quaker spray paints Stonehenge for climate

‘The paint is made of cornstarch, which will wash away in the rain,’ wrote Just Stop Oil.

Quaker Rajan Naidu (left) at Stonehenge

A Quaker was one of two climate defenders who sprayed orange powder paint on Stonehenge on the eve of the summer solstice.

Rajan Naidu, from Central England Area Meeting, and Niamh Lynch, a student from Oxford, were arrested by Wiltshire police after members of the public attempted to stop the Just Stop Oil (JSO) action.

‘The paint is made of cornstarch, which will wash away in the rain,’ JSO wrote, sharing footage of their activism online. ‘But the urgent need for effective government action to mitigate the catastrophic consequences of the climate and ecological crisis will not.’

Niamh Lynch said: ‘Stonehenge at solstice is all about celebrating the natural world – but look at the state it’s in.’

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Nick Merriman, English Heritage chief executive, said that there appeared to be ‘no visible damage’ to the prehistoric UNESCO World Heritage Site. On social media, the Stonehenge X account pointed out that there are ‘multiple rare lichen species growing on the stones that are also protected in law’.

Nick Merriman said: ‘It’s difficult to understand and we’re deeply saddened about this vandalism, but we’ve been really touched by the messages of sympathy and support we’ve had.

‘Our experts have already managed to clean the orange powder from the stones because we were really worried about what would happen if they got in contact with water.’

He added: ‘We wish people would channel their protests away from cultural heritage sites, museums and galleries because we feel that doesn’t actually help their cause, and causes huge upset and disruption to the operation of these important sites.’

A JSO statement said that the action was to demand that the new government should sign up to a legally-binding treaty to phase out fossil fuels by 2030. ‘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.’

Last month hundreds of the world’s leading climate scientists said they expected global temperatures to rise to at least 2.5C (4.5F) above preindustrial levels this century, causing catastrophic damage, in a poll by The Guardian.

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