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Eco-activists sentenced for vandalizing van Gogh — RT World News


One of the guilty protesters has already been jailed for tying himself to a goal post during a Premier League game

Two “Just Stop Oil” activists were sentenced to prison for damaging the frame of a painting by Vincent van Gogh in September. Before the court found them guilty of criminal damage, one of them compared himself to civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

Emily Brocklebank, 24, and Louis McKechnie, 22, were sentenced on Tuesday, with District Judge Neeta Minhas saying the 18th-century setting surrounding van Gogh’s ‘Peach Trees in Blossom’ had been “permanently damaged” when the couple walked into the Courtauld Gallery in London and stuck their hands there in September.

“There were large areas of glue left behind and areas of solvent that had seeped into the gilding of the frame,” prosecutor Francesca Cociani told the court, according to The Independent. “Parts of the frame had fallen off.”


For causing just under £2,000 ($2,426) in damage to the frame, Brocklebank was given a 21-day suspended jail sentence, as well as a six-week curfew during which she must wear a monitor electronic. McKechnie – who is already serving a six-week prison sentence for attaching himself by cable to a goal post during an English Premier League match between Everton and Newcastle United – was sentenced to a further three weeks behind bars.

Brocklebank told the court she didn’t think the glue “would cause a lot of damage” and that van Gogh himself, as a nature lover, would approve of their protest. When asked if he thought the public agreed with his actions, McKechnie compared himself to Martin Luther King, arguing that the civil rights leader was “most hated man in America” in 1960, according to Sky News.

He added that the civil rights movement “still working” and that “People don’t have to like what we do.”

Just Stop Oil has made headlines by vandalizing works of art and disrupting traffic across the UK in a bid to pressure the government to suspend fossil fuel extraction licenses. The group is funded by the Climate Emergency Fund, a foundation created by billionaire oil heiress Aileen Getty and led by Trevor Neilson, an investor linked to the World Economic Forum and controversial philanthropists Bill Gates and George Soros.

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