Five environmental protesters from the “Just Stop Oil” group who glued themselves to the frame of a copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” were each fined £486 ($588) on Wednesday. The activists, who caused disruption at the Royal Academy in London last July, were fined by City of London Magistrates’ Court for criminal damage. District Judge William Nelson said their “primary intention … was to gain media attention and not to cause damage to a work of art”, but they were “reckless” and knew it would be a “by-product” of their actions.
The stunt was one of a flurry of so-called “direct action” protests last year by environmental activists, which also included tomato soup being thrown over one of Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” paintings at London’s National Gallery. Protest group Just Stop Oil, which was behind many of the stunts, wants to end UK government approval for exploring, developing and producing fossil fuels.
The group says since its campaign began last April, there have been over 2,000 arrests and 138 people have spent time in prison. Jessica Agar, 22, an art student from western England and one of the five fined Wednesday, said she took part “to highlight the responsibility that cultural institutions have to the public”. “The concept of a ‘last supper’ is a reality for millions around the world, as crop failures from climate breakdown force us into widespread famine,” she said in a statement released by the group. – AFP