The Washington PostThe Washington Post

Throwing tomato soup on Van Gogh: Why climate protests are getting weirder

By Shannon Osaka

14 Oct 2022 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

Last week, the attack on Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" caused a global stir. This article explores the evolution of protest movements and explains why they are become increasingly strange.

Just after 11 a.m. on Friday morning, two young climate protesters entered a room in the National Gallery in London containing one of Vincent van Gogh's most famous paintings: "Sunflowers." They opened two cans of Heinz tomato soup, flung them on the painting, then glued their hands to the wall.

"What is worth more, art or life?" one of the protesters shouted, her hand glued to the wall behind her. "... Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting or the protection of our planet?" The activist group Just Stop Oil, which aims to stop U.K. oil and gas projects, said the protesters were members.

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