Orange powder paint sprayed on to Stonehenge removed

Orange powder paint sprayed on to Stonehenge removed

37 minutes agoBy Leigh Boobyer, BBC News, WiltshireBBCEnglish Heritage said there appeared to be no visible damage to Stonehenge

Orange powder paint sprayed onto part of Stonehenge by activists has been removed.

Two Just Stop Oil protesters were arrested after spraying the historic site near Salisbury, Wiltshire, with cornflour at about 12:00 BST on Wednesday.

English Heritage chief executive, Dr Nick Merriman, said there appeared to be “no visible damage” to the 5,000-year-old landmark after experts cleaned the site.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Dr Merriman also confirmed the site would be open for Summer Solstice celebrations as normal from 19:00 BST on Thursday.

Just Stop OilTwo people have been arrested for spraying Stonehenge in orange powder paint

English Heritage said the orange paint had been removed using an air blower.

It told the BBC that if rain had come into contact with the powder, damage could have been significant.

The stones are covered in more than fifty different lichens, some of them rare. This meant brushing or washing the paint off was not possible.

“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”, Dr Merriman said.

“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.

“So far, there seems to be no visible damage. The site is open to the public again and for the solstice tomorrow.”

Dr Merriman called the act “vandalism to one of the world’s most celebrated ancient monuments”.

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.”

Demonstration condemned

The demonstration had been condemned by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Just Stop Oil said its motivation was to demand the next UK government to end the extraction and burning of oil, gas and coal by 2030.

The group said the orange powder paint was cornflour and would “wash away with rain”.

It named the two protesters as Niamh Lynch, a 21-year-old student from Oxford, and Rajan Naidu, a 73-year-old from Birmingham, in a statement.

Wiltshire Police confirmed two people had been arrested on suspicion of damaging the ancient monument on Wednesday.

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