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Climate Activists Target Magna Carta in London Protest

Pair Detained After Smashing Glass Case at British Library

LONDON – Two climate activists were detained on Friday after smashing part of the glass case protecting the original text of the Magna Carta at the British Library in London.

The activists, identified as Reverend Dr. Sue Parfitt, 82, and Judy Bruce, 85, were part of the climate group Just Stop Oil. They used a chisel and a lump hammer to break the glass, but the document itself was not damaged, according to a statement from the library.

Parfitt then brandished a banner that read, “THE GOVERNMENT IS BREAKING THE LAW.”

The Magna Carta is a 13th-century English treaty that established the principle that no one, including the monarch, is above the law. Only four original copies of the treaty exist, two of which are held in the British Library.

Just Stop Oil has been targeting cultural institutions across Europe in recent months in an effort to bring attention to the climate crisis. In October 2022, two activists glued themselves to Johannes Vermeer’s “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” at the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague. In July 2023, activists attacked Diego Velázquez’s “The Toilet of Venus” with hammers at the National Gallery in London.

The protests have been divisive, but Just Stop Oil says it will continue to target cultural institutions until the government takes action on climate change.