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Radical environmental activists disrupted a London “Pride” parade on Saturday, blocking the procession and spray painting a float sponsored by Coca-Cola, leading to several arrests.
Just Stop Oil, a group associated with protests targeting famous works of art, took credit for the disruption, arguing that the organizers of the parade did not do enough to condemn new oil and gas leases. According to police, seven people were arrested on “public nuisance” charges.
“Pride is a protest. But Pride in London allows destructive industries such as Coca-Cola, who are the world’s biggest plastic polluter and who have been accused of numerous human rights abuses, to co-opt it and pinkwash themselves,” Just Stop Oil said on Twitter. “The LGBTQ+ supporters of Just Stop Oil have taken action against Pride in London today, because the organisation is working with industries complicit in worsening the climate crisis.”
🏳️🌈 BREAKING: JUST STOP OIL DISRUPTS PRIDE
🧯 LGBTQ+ supporters of Just Stop Oil have disrupted the Pride in London parade, blocking Coca-Cola's float and spraying black and pink paint over the road.
— Just Stop Oil (@JustStop_Oil) July 1, 2023
According to the U.K.-based group, the protesters who disrupted the parade identified as LGBT. They managed to bring the parade to a halt for about 15 minutes before they were removed from the street by police.
“New oil and gas is a death sentence for millions of people, and the LGBTQ+ community will be one of the first to suffer,” Just Stop Oil said.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said prior to the parade that he supported peaceful and lawful protests.
“I agree with protesting in a way that is lawful, safe, and peaceful. I think that Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil are really important pressure groups trying to put power on those who have power and influence,” he said, according to The Guardian. “I am somebody who feels quite passionately that we have to tackle the climate emergency. And I feel quite passionately about encouraging people to join the movement to tackle the climate emergency.”
Individuals affiliated with Just Stop Oil previously threw tomato soup at Vincent Van Gogh’s iconic “Sunflowers” painting at a London art museum in October. The painting, valued at nearly $85 million, was undamaged thanks to a glass covering.
The two suspects behind the vandalism were identified by Just Stop Oil as Anna Holland, 20, and Phoebe Plummer, 21. They glued their hands to the museum wall after dousing the painting with two cans of Heinz tomato soup before London police officers arrested them for criminal damage and aggravated trespassing.