TWO Just Stop Oil protesters have smashed the glass covering a painting on display at the National Gallery in London.

The protesters used safety hammers to break the glass protecting the Rokeby Venus painting at the museum in central London on Monday.

Originally painted by Diego Velazquez in the 1600s, it was previously slashed by suffragette Mary Richardson in March 1914.

Before taking action, activist Hanan, 22, said: “Women did not get the vote by voting; it is time for deeds not words.

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“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 named Harrison, 20, alongside Hanan as the activists involved in the protest.

A larger group of Just Stop Oil protesters also obstructed traffic near Downing Street on Monday and were arrested and placed on and around the Cenotaph by police.

One officer said the protesters had been moved to the site “to get them off the road,” adding: “It was for their own safety – obviously it’s quite a busy road.”

The Met said at least 40 activists who were slow-marching in Whitehall had been arrested under Section 7 of the Public Order Act.

Tory lies

Just Stop Oil has also hit out at “lies” accusing them of targeting the Cenotaph after dozens of protesters were arrested after bringing traffic near Downing Street to a halt.

A stream of politicians including Tory party deputy chairman Lee Anderson and London Mayor Sadiq Khan accused the group of targeting the war memorial on Monday.

But activists said they had been moved to the base of the monument.

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A mother-of-one lying cuffed on the base of the memorial told the PA news agency: “They arrested us in the road and we were dragged to the pavement and then back over here.”

Anderson said that Just Stop Oil were “now stuck to the Cenotaph” as he shared a picture on social media site Twitter/X.

The National:

“Simple solution here. Give them stronger glue and leave them there till Sunday,” the MP added.

Just Stop Oil accused Anderson of “tweeting lies about protesters being glued to the Cenotaph”.

Khan, the Labour mayor of the capital, said online that the Metropolitan Police have his “full support in taking action” after the protest.

“Targeting the Cenotaph is completely unacceptable and deeply disrespectful towards those who gave their lives for our country,” he wrote.

“Tackling climate change is a vital cause but this isn’t the way to go about it.” The tweet was later removed.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper wrote: “Targeting the Cenotaph is totally unacceptable. Full support for the police in taking necessary enforcement action.”

The National:

“The reality is that they were dragged off the road and arrested by police for protesting in the street, under legislation his corrupt party introduced,” the group said in response to his message.

Just Stop Oil demanded an apology from Cooper, adding: “These are peaceful protesters marching towards Parliament Square, arrested under anti-protest laws and dragged off the road. Why won’t you speak out about that?”

A spokesperson for the group said: "“We have not targeted the Cenotaph. The police moved people there when they were being arrested.”