Two uni students glue themselves to Van Gogh painting in protest against fuel companies

‘I’m not willing to be marched to my death by the fossil fuel companies and their government puppets,’ says Bournemouth student Louis

Yesterday, two university students glued themselves to a famous Vincent Van Gogh painting in protest against fossil fuel companies.

Bournemouth student Louis McKechnie and Salford student Emily Brocklebank stuck themselves to the frame of Peach Trees in Blossom (1889)- a painting of the French countryside.

They have both been arrested and taken into custody for criminal damage.

Louis McKechnie, who you may remember as the activist who tied himself to a goalpost during a Premier League football match, said: “As a kid I used to love this painting, my dad took me to see it when we visited London. I still love this painting, but I love my friends and family more, I love nature more.

“I value the future survival of my generation more highly than my public reputation.

“The scientists are saying we need to end fossil fuel licensing and the government is pouring sand in their ears. I’m not willing to be marched to my death by the fossil fuel companies and their government puppets.

“It is immoral for cultural institutions to stand by and watch whilst our society descends into collapse. Galleries should close. Directors of art institutions should be calling on the government to stop all new oil and gas projects immediately. We are either in resistance or we are complicit.”

This protest comes amid warnings that Provence, the region depicted in the painting, may soon face periods of drought.

Rainfall levels were 45 per cent lower than historic averages for May and June leaving France desperately low on water.

Psychology student Emily said: “Billionaires are getting richer whilst nurses queue at food banks, tens of millions of people across the world are starving and half the world’s population is exposed to extreme danger from heatwaves, floods, fires and famine.

“Meanwhile the art establishment, the politicians and the fossil fuel companies look the other way.

“I love art, everywhere I go I visit all the galleries. Art is so important, it captures history and a moment in time, but artists and the art establishment are failing us by focusing on the wrong things.

“We need everyone to focus on the government’s genocidal plans to allow fossil fuel companies to drill for more oil. This is one of the greatest injustices in history. We must resist.”

A Met Police spokesperson said: “At 15:32hrs on Thursday, 30 June police were called to Somerset House, WC2 after two protestors glued themselves to a picture frame. Officers attended and arrested a man and a woman for criminal damage.

“Specialist officers worked to ensure their swift and safe removal and they have been taken into custody. There are no reports of any injuries.”

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