Boujie department store Harrods just covered in orange paint courtesy of the climate activists

It’s been a busy month for Just Stop Oil. The activist group, which stands against new fossil fuel licences being issued in the UK, has been popping up all over London in an attempt to get people to wake up and start talking about the climate crisis. 

Across the course of the last couple of weeks, protesters have blocked roads and bridges leading into the capital, splattered revered artworks with tins of Heinz tomato soup, and blasted boujie car showrooms with orange spray paint. And now, they’ve come for Harrods.

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The luxury shopping destination was this morning (October 20) targeted by the activists, with a group of around 20 people congregating outside and spraying its famous windows with more of their signature orange paint. Though the department store has since begun clean-up efforts, roads close by are reportedly still blocked. 

Unsurprisingly, Just Stop Oil has faced widespread outcry for its methods of protest and the subsequent disruption they have caused. However, the organisation knew no damage could be done to the Van Gogh artwork it targeted, due to it being protected behind a glass screen. The National Gallery later confirmed this to be true.

“What is worth more, art or life?” asked the activists after emptying the soup over Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”. “Is it worth more than food? Worth more than justice? Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting, or the protection of our planet and people?”

Spray paint is also pretty easily cleaned up, as Harrods has proved this afternoon – although that has not stopped the Met police from arresting two campaigners on the basis of criminal damage, according to The Guardian. 

The recent stunts are part of a month-long campaign of civil disobedience in response to the UK government’s move to greenlight 100 new oil and gas projects in the North Sea. And while many have criticised its actions, Dazed contributor James Greig here details why it’s important we stand in solidarity with Just Stop Oil and other groups like it.