Just Stop Oil activists arrested as Met Police HQ sprayed with orange paint

More than 20 protesters have been arrested after the sign for New Scotland Yard was covered with yellow paint.

Demonstrators also blocked the road in front of the Metropolitan Police's headquarters during Just Stop Oil's action on Friday.

Officers cleared the demonstrators from Victoria Embankment, outside New Scotland Yard, and have now reopened it to traffic.

The force said it arrested 24 protesters on suspicion of wilful obstruction of the highway and conspiracy to commit criminal damage.

At least eight officers continued to surround the New Scotland Yard rotating sign, which remains covered in paint.

Four protesters also inserted their arms into pieces of what appeared to be metal piping as they sat on the road in front of New Scotland Yard in Westminster.

Police officers gave the activists protective visors before cutting the piping in half to separate them.

One woman present said she she was carrying out the protest to draw attention to the five protesters from the group who are in prison.

In a short clip from the demonstration, she can be seen being escorted away by police.

She said: “We are holding peaceful protesters in prison and all they are doing is standing up to a corrupt Government and corporations.”

It is the 14th day of civil unrest in the capital from the protest group.

Due to the protests, a total of 376 people were arrested before Friday, commander Karen Findlay told the Standard.

In a statement, a Just Stop Oil spokesperson told the Standard: “We have a message for the police, for those who have imprisoned over 100 people for acting to protect humanity.

“We are not prepared to watch while everything we love is destroyed. We’re done with begging. We are acting to stop new oil and gas because it is the right thing to do.

“As citizens, as parents, we have every right under British law to protect ourselves and those we love. This is the moment, we are the last people that can solve this. Will you step up and join us?

“Together we can do this. We can Just Stop Oil.

“The climate crisis is the greatest threat to law and order. The police should stop arresting non-violent people seeking to protect humanity and either join us or start arresting those planning our deaths. The government and the fossil fuel companies are guilty of genocide, we know who they are. These are the people who should be in prison.”

A Just Stop Oil supporter, looking on at the protests outside New Scotland Yard and handing out leaflets, said she supported what the group was doing.

Gabby Ditton, 28, from Norwich, said: "We did try petitions and marches and strongly worded emails before this, but that didn't work. And now we're in a situation where all of life on earth could be destroyed forever in the name of short-term profit. So yeah, I absolutely support this.

"It's peaceful, it's non-violent, it's stressful to watch but what other choice do we have?"

Earlier on Friday, two other activists from the group threw tomato soup over Vincent van Gogh’s iconic Sunflowers painting at the National Gallery.

After covering the painting, the two women then glued themselves to the wall in the gallery.

In a statement released on the Just Stop Oil website accompanying the protest in the National Gallery, Phoebe Plummer, 21, from London said: “The cost of living crisis is driven by fossil fuels—everyday life has become unaffordable for millions of cold hungry families—they can’t even afford to heat a tin of soup.

“Meanwhile, crops are failing and people are dying in supercharged monsoons, massive wildfires and endless droughts caused by climate breakdown. We can’t afford new oil and gas, it’s going to take everything.

“We will look back and mourn all we have lost unless we act immediately.”