Activists spray paint King Charles portrait in fossil fuel protest

This is Rigged protesters spray painted the words 'the people are mightier than the lord' onto the portrait.

Two climate campaigners have spray painted a portrait of King Charles III at an exhibition in Edinburgh as part of action targeted at the fossil fuel industry in Scotland.

At around 3pm on July 26 in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, the painting ‘King Charles III, born 1948 (as HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay)’ by Victoria Crowe was sprayed with the words “the people are mightier than the lord” by activists.

One of the protesters held a stencil on the glass covering the painting, while the other sprayed it in pink paint with the slogan, which came from the Highland Land League following the Highland Clearances.

One of the protesters who took action on Wednesday said: “Why does the Scottish Government think it’s acceptable to keep allowing new oil and gas projects to go ahead, without even opposing them? If we want a future for our young people, they need to oppose all new oil and gas licences. 

“This is the most basic step they can take to secure a chance at a liveable future. Until this happens, we will continue to target the Scottish Government, forcing them to use the powers they do have to stand up for the people.” 

The other added: “In Portugal, it’s 40C in the shade, right now. We’re going through unbearable heat, and it’s only going to get worse.

“Scotland is the biggest oil producer in Europe (and second-biggest gas producer), and these emissions affect everyone. We all have a responsibility to stop them, and ensure a fair transition for oil and gas workers.”

During the action, the pair donned ‘This is Rigged’ t-shirts, a group which earlier this month scaled the Kelpies and blocked entrances to the INEOS plant in Grangemouth and the Nustar Terminal in Clydebank.

The group are demanding that the Scottish Government vocally oppose all new oil and gas licences, and create a fair and fully funded transition for oil workers. 

A spokesperson for National Galleries of Scotland said: “This afternoon there was a protest at National Galleries of Scotland: Portrait.

“We have closed the Modern Portrait room. The rest of the gallery is open as normal for visitors. At the moment we are assessing the impact but there appears to be no sign of damage to any actual artwork.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said:  “We were made aware of protestors at the National Galleries of Scotland: Portrait shortly after 3.05pm on Wednesday, July 26.

“Two people, aged 28 and 21, have been arrested in connection with the incident and enquiries are ongoing.”

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