Italian climate protesters stick hands to Vatican statue of Laocoön

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Italian environmental protesters taped their hands to the base of an ancient statue at a Vatican museum on Thursday in an effort to put pressure on Rome against the reopening of old coal mines and the launch of plans to drill for natural gas. The protest was the latest effort by European environmental activists in recent months against famous works of art.

The statue of Laocoon, believed to have been carved in ancient Greece around 40-30 B.C. C., represents a hapless Trojan priest, whose warnings to his compatriots not to accept a horse given by the Greeks went unheeded. Activists said his warnings of impending environmental catastrophe also went unheeded.

Protesters said the statue was unharmed. They were arrested by Vatican security and taken to an Italian police station, according to the Associated Press.

“Today, thousands of activists are sounding the alarm about the climate, but they are also being ignored and repressed,” Last Generation, the Italian environmental group responsible for the act, said in a statement. cheep.

“There will be no open museums, no art, no beauty in a world plagued by climate and ecological emergencies,” the group said in a statement that was attributed in part to a A 26-year-old art history graduate who stuck her hand to sculpture. She was identified only as Laura.

Many similar recent protests have also involved paintings and sculptures in Europe. In July, activists from the same group glued they were placed in a glass frame that protected Sandro Botticelli’s painting Primavera in Florence before their hands were ripped off by security guards. A video The incident garnered Last Generation nearly 35,000 views on Instagram, making it one of their most popular posts.

Earlier that month, activists covered John Constable’s painting “The Hay Wain” at the National Gallery in London with a reinvented apocalyptic vision of the English countryside. The activists, who also stuck to the framework, called for an end to new oil and gas licenses and urged art institutions to join them in resistance.

Also in July, climate protesters glued in the frame of a 500-year-old painting of the Last Supper at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. They spray-painted “No New Oil” on the wall below the artwork.

None of the paintings were permanently defaced, the AP reported.

“Targeting famous works of art and museums that are so well known and that appeal to a wide range of people across the spectrum has been a very effective way of getting attention,” said Priya Kurian, an environmental policy expert at the University of New Zealand Waikato. .

“The point is that these activists are not harming the art. Instead, they are drawing attention to the need to protect our treasures, the supreme treasure of a healthy planet,” he said.

A victory at whose expense? Climate activists grapple with political compromise.

Climate protesters also disrupted the Tour de France cycle race and disrupted the British. Big prize car race last month.

In the United States, climate change activism is also gaining popularity, with nearly a quarter of American adults making efforts to support climate change action in the past year, according to a May 2021 report. Pew Research Center to study.

Scientists are also being drawn to more extreme action. In April, a soil and climate change scientist chained herself to the White House fence to protest government inaction.

In December, Bruce Glavovic, an environmental professor at New Zealand’s Massey University, urged his colleagues at a academic journal opinion piece issue a moratorium on research to protest lack of action on climate change.

“If the evidence is ignored, we must stand up and call for action,” he said in an interview. “If we are going to destroy the world around us, we are doing something even worse than destroying works of art that are produced for the public good.”

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