10 November 2022

Protester arrested after allegedly vandalising National Gallery artwork

| Lottie Twyford
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Andy Warhol's 'Campbell's Soup Cans'

Andy Warhol’s ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans’ has allegedly been damaged by environmental activists at the National Gallery of Australia. Photo: Stop FF Subsidies.

A climate change protester has been arrested the day after Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans artwork was vandalised at the National Gallery of Australia.

The 60-year-old woman is a member of the group Stop Fossil Fuel Subsidies which yesterday claimed responsibility for the act.

She was arrested this afternoon at a Braddon cafe and has been charged with defacing property.

Bonnie Cassen and other group members allegedly scribbled on the artwork and tried to glue themselves to it.

The piece in question was cleaned and returned to display by 4 pm yesterday.

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Ms Cassen alleged security grabbed her hand off the artwork and was forceful with her, despite her telling them she was undergoing treatment for cancer and was fragile.

In a statement, she said she was willing to risk the legal consequences of her actions.

“I am simply asking the government to stop fossil fuel subsidies. I have requested meetings with MPs but this is the only way I can be heard,” she said.

This morning, a 58-year-old woman from the same group was arrested for blocking traffic on Northbourne Avenue.

Some protesters blocked cars at the Rudd Street intersection by forming a human chain, replete with banners, which prevented commuters from getting to work.

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The group is in town to protest government subsidies for the fossil fuel industry during ongoing global COP27 talks.

Both women will face court tomorrow.

A woman from the same group targeted artwork at Parliament House last week.

It’s the latest in a string of incidents where protesters have targeted art galleries in an attempt to draw attention to climate change.

Extinction Rebellion activists glued their hands to a Picasso painting at the National Gallery of Victoria, and activists threw tomato soup over Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London.

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NSW recently changed their laws to a maximum of 2 years jail or a $22,000 fine for bullies who block the roads. In response, the circus has moved to Canberra where they can force their blockades onto others with impunity.

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