Activists smash cover over painting slashed by suffragette

Protesters from Just Stop Oil targeted the Diego Velazquez work - over a century after it had been attacked by Mary Richardson during the women's suffrage movement.

Two Just Stop Oil protesters have smashed the glass covering a painting on display at the National Gallery in London.

The protesters used safety hammers to break the glass protecting the Rokeby Venus painting at the museum on Monday.

The Metropolitan Police said activists had been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.

The artwork, which was painted by Diego Velazquez in the 1600s, was previously slashed by suffragette Mary Richardson in March 1914.

Just Stop Oil named the pair as Hanan, 22, and Harrison, 20, and said their actions were to demand the Government immediately halt all new oil and gas projects in the UK.

Following the incident, they said: “Women did not get the vote by voting; it is time for deeds not words. It is time to Just Stop Oil.

“Politics is failing us. It failed women in 1914 and it is failing us now.

“New oil and gas will kill millions. If we love art, if we love life, if we love our families, we must Just Stop Oil.”

A series of Just Stop Oil protests have taken place in recent days, including on Wednesday when more than 20 people were charged after blocking Earl’s Court Road.

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