December 9, 2023

By LA NACION

Five protesters arrested for stopping a play on the stage after the audience booed.

Yesterday, a group of English youths from Just Stop Oil who are known to paint artworks in order to get media attention sneaked inside a performance of Les Miserables at the West End Theatre of London England. Five environmentalists were detained after they were approached by police.

After the organization that shared the video in its social media networks, the news became viral. They then assured their goal to be “to demand that the UK Government stop licensing new oil, coal and gas projects.”

The video shows how the group broke into the Sondheim Theater and asked the public to “join the rebellion.” They also booed the youths and told them to leave. BBC reports that the audience was told to return their tickets after the incident.

The Metropolitan Police later confirmed five arrests (aged 28 to 23, 22 to 19 years old) on charges of “aggravated breach.”

Catherine Francoise who organized theater visits at the time and was present with the group of people that watched the play told BBC that a few young people had tied cables around a part of the stage, and then put padlocks on their own. After that, police intervened to remove the protesters.

William Village, Delfont Mackintosh Theaters CEO, said in a statement that within hours: “During our first half performance of Les Miserables, Just Stop Oil individuals invaded the scene, stopping the show abruptly. According to our safety protocol, we asked the audience to leave and called the Metropolitan Police.

He also regretted not having enough time to complete the performance. “We must respect our audiences’ right to attend the paid-for event, while we acknowledge the importance of freedom of expression.”

Just Stop Oil is a group of mostly young people. Its members range from 18 to older. The United Kingdom defines the group, due to the types of protests they carry out, as a “civil disobedience organisation”. In order to get the media’s attention and that of the government, many of the activists who take part in the demonstrations are arrested.

One of their first protests took place on the British Academy Film Awards 75th Edition, March 13th, 2022. They gave a speech in support of the environment, and strongly criticized those who use fossil fuels.

In October 2022, tomato soup was also thrown on the painting by Vincent Van Gogh “The Sunflowers”. In the same month at Royal Academy of Arts, another group stuck themselves to Leonardo da Vinci‚Äôs “The Last Supper”. They wrote “no new fuel” underneath the artwork. The glass-covered works were protected, and so no damage was done.

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