Stonehenge sprayed with orange paint by Just Stop Oil protesters

Two arrests are made at Wiltshire site after several of the late Neolithic stones are defaced

A video screen grab shows Just Stop Oil protesters spraying orange paint on Stonehenge. Photograph: Just Stop Oil/PA Wire

Parts of the ancient Stonehenge monument have been covered in orange powder paint sprayed by Just Stop Oil activists.

Members of the public were heard shouting “no” and running to intervene as the campaigners, named by the group as Rajan Naidu (73) and Niamh Lynch (21), ran up to the stone circle on Wednesday.

Video footage posted on social media showed two people wearing white shirts with the slogan Just Stop Oil, approaching the monoliths with canisters spraying orange powder paint.

Several of the stones – dating back to the late Neolithic period – were seen covered in orange paint before one protester sat on the grass and the other was detained by a member of the public.


The incident happened on Wednesday at about 12pm, the day before the summer solstice is celebrated at Stonehenge, which is the heart of a World Heritage site.

British prime minister Rishi Sunak said: “This is a disgraceful act of vandalism to one of the UK’s and the world’s oldest and most important monuments.”

Wiltshire police said officers had attended the scene and arrested two people. “Our inquiries are ongoing, and we are working closely with English Heritage,” a spokesman said.

Just Stop Oil protesters sprayed orange paint on parts of Stonehenge. Photograph: Just Stop Oil/PA Wire

English Heritage said experts were assessing the “extent of the damage” on the stones.

A spokeswoman said: “Orange powdered paint has been thrown at a number of the stones at Stonehenge. Obviously, this is extremely upsetting, and our curators are investigating the extent of the damage. Stonehenge remains open to the public.”

In a statement, Just Stop Oil said its action was to demand that the incoming UK government should agree a plan with other governments to end the extraction and burning of oil, gas and coal by 2030.

The group said it used orange cornflour paint to spray on to the stones, which it claimed would “soon wash away with the rain”.

Around 8,000 people gathered at Stonehenge to mark the longest day of the year in 2023, with similar numbers expected on Thursday.

The solstice will be celebrated from 7pm on Thursday until 8am on Friday. – PA