Soup, milk, paint: London's weekend of direct-action eco protests

Eco-protesters in Britain had a busy weekend, covering Van Gogh's Sunflowers masterpiece in soup, pouring milk on the floors of Harrods and Fortnum & Mason, and spray-painting Aston Martin's storefront.

Activists from Animal Rebellion – which, according to its website, engages in 'nonviolent direct action' and 'civil disobedience' for animal and climate justice – poured milk down aisles and doused displays in what protesters dubbed 'Milk Pours' across the UK.

The protests took place throughout London, Manchester, Norwich, and Edinburgh entering Fortnum & Mason, Harrods, Waitrose, Whole Foods, and Marks & Spencer stores before noon on Saturday.


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Just Stop Oil, another protest group which orchestrated the soup-throwing at Van Gogh's painting and spray-painting Aston Martin's showroom with bright orange paint, also brought traffic to a standstill on London's Park Lane with activists glueing themselves to the road, protesting to the government about halting new oil and gas licenses.

Interior minister Suella Braverman outlined plans to crack down on these protests as part of the Public Order Bill, stating that she would give police new powers to take a more 'proactive' approach to some protests, with some measures focused specifically on the tactics of environmental groups. At the Tory conference earlier this month, she said "There is no human right to vandalize property," having already expressed her opposition to certain types of protest.

In an application for an injunction against Just Stop Oil causing disruption on London's roads, Braverman met with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Nadhim Zahawi.

There is already an order in place against Insulate Britain, another protest group engaging in similar activities, but a separate one needs to be obtained for Just Stop Oil. In Braverman's plans, disrupting key infrastructure such as airports, railways and oil refineries would be a new criminal offence.

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