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Just Stop Oil eco-zealots have smashed the protective glass on the Rokeby Venus oil painting worth an estimated £72.5million at the National Gallery today.
Two protesters appeared to strike the painting around 11am this morning using what the gallery has described as ’emergency rescue hammers’.
Met Police were called and the room was cleared of visitors. Officers have arrested the activists – identified by JSO as Hanan, 22, and Harrison, 20 – on suspicion of criminal damage.
‘The painting is now being removed from display so it can be examined by Conservators,’ the National Gallery told MailOnline.
Before the stunt – which emulated action by suffragette Mary Richardson who also smashed the portrait’s glass in 1914 – protester Hanan, 22, said: ‘Women did not get the vote by voting; it is time for deeds not words. It it is time to Just Stop Oil.
‘As a kid I saw myself growing up to be an astronaut or a singer. I saw a future, however ridiculous it was. Now, those day-dreams have ended. The future we are heading for doesn’t allow space for them anymore.’
Just Stop Oil eco-zealots have smashed the protective glass on a Rokeby Venus oil painting worth an estimated £72.5million at the National Portrait Gallery today
The climate change activists claim the action was in response to the Government having revealed plans for more oil licenses
The protesters who allegedly vandalised the painting have been arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage.
JSO named the pair as Hanan and Harrison, 20, and said they used safety hammers to smash the glass.
The artwork, which was painted by Diego Velazquez in the 1600s, was previously slashed by suffragette Mary Richardson in March 1914.
This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.