Priest, 82, and retired teacher, 85, smash case holding copy of Magna Carta in environmental

In World


The glass case containing an original copy of the Magna Carta at the British Library in London was smashed by two environmental activists on Friday, causing minor damage to the reinforced box but leaving the historic document unscathed. 

The pair of protesters from Just Stop Oil, a group that has caused widespread disruption in Britain in its campaign to end to the world’s reliance on fossil fuels, pounded on the case with a hammer and chisel.

Video footage posted online shows the Rev. Sue Parfitt, 82, and Judy Bruce, an 85-year-old retired biology teacher, holding up a sign reading “The government is breaking the law,” before gluing themselves to the display.

Britain Magna Carta
In this photo provided by Just Stop Oil on Friday, May 10, 2024, two activists Judy Bruce, a retired biology teacher and Reverend Sue Parfitt, hold up a sign, after they targeted the protective enclosure around the historic Magna Carta document, at the British Library, in London. 

/ AP


The pair released a statement saying that they targeted the document to highlight the dangers of climate change.

“The Magna Carta is rightly revered, being of great importance to our history, to our freedoms and to our laws,” Parfitt said. “But there will be no freedom, no lawfulness, no rights, if we allow climate breakdown to become the catastrophe that is now threatened.”

London’s Metropolitan Police said that two people were arrested.

The library’s security team intervened to prevent further damage to the case surrounding the Magna Carta, which is considered one of the founding documents of Western democracy.

The Treasures Gallery is temporarily closed until further notice, the library said.

This was the latest public demonstration of vandalism toward famous art and historic pieces.

TOPSHOT-FRANCE-MUSEUM-PAINTING-ENVIRONMENT-DEMO
This image grab taken from AFPTV footage shows two environmental activists from the collective dubbed “Riposte Alimentaire” (Food Retaliation) hurling soup at Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” painting, at the Louvre museum in Paris, on Jan. 28, 2024. 

DAVID CANTINIAUX/AFPTV/AFP via Getty Images


In January, two climate activists with the Food Riposte group dumped soup on the glass protecting the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris. The famous painting by Leonardo Da Vinci was also targeted in 2022 when a man disguised as an elderly lady in a wheelchair smeared cream cake on the painting.

In October 2023, five activists with Just Stop Oil were arrested in London after they stormed the stage of a West End production of Les Misérables. The protesters took the stage with orange banners saying “The show can’t go on” during the song “Do You Hear the People Sing.” They also locked themselves to part of the set using bicycle locks. The group also targeted Johannes Vermeer’s iconic painting “Girl with a Pearl Earring” at the Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague, the Netherlands in October 2022.

Also in 2022, two climate activists threw mashed potatoes at Claude Monet’s “Les Meules” and then glued themselves underneath the painting at Museum Barberini in Potsdam, Germany. The painting was not damaged during the incident.

Climate activists protest at Trevi Fountain, Rome
Climate activists pour vegetable charcoal in the Trevi Fountain water, during a demonstration against fossil fuels, in Rome, Italy May 21, 2023 in this image obtained from social media. 

ALESSANDRO PENSO/MAPS


Also last year, climate activists turned the water of Rome’s iconic Trevi Fountain black in protest of the fossil fuel industry.





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