Three arrested as Just Stop Oil protesters target Chelsea Flower Show
Three people have been arrested after the Chelsea Flower Show in London was targeted by Just Stop Oil protesters on Thursday morning.
Scotland Yard said the trio were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.
About 9am, three women stepped over a rope barrier and threw orange powder paint over the RBC Brewin Dolphin Garden, designed by Paul Hervey-Brookes.
One of the protesters was filmed shouting: “What use is a garden if you can’t eat?
Just Stop Oil activists calling for “no new oil and gas” at Chelsea Flower Show this morning.
— Novara Media (@novaramedia) May 25, 2023
“Bug hotels will not save us. We need no new oil and gas. We need to do something - we have to act. We have to stop all new oil and gas, otherwise we have no future.”
The action was initially met with cries of dismay from the public, while some shouts of support were heard as the women shared their message.
The stunt has been met with mixed reception on social media, where some users have slammed it as “disgusting” and questioned thye group’s motive for targeting an event that celebrates plant life.
One Twitter user wrote: “Just Stop Oil taking it out on the plants and wildlife. Weird.”
Others praised the action, with Jo Rodgers writing: “The only successful demos are disruptive demos”.
A spokesperson for the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), which runs the Chelsea Flower Show, said: “The RHS’ primary concern is for the safety of its visitors, exhibitors and everyone at the show. No disruption was caused to visitors on site at the time of the incident and the show is open as normal today for anyone with tickets.
“This year there has been real excitement about RHS Chelsea championing sustainability and green ways to garden for the environment, we hope the focus can now go back to that.”
Thursday’s stunt comes after JSO - which is calling on the government to end all new oil, gas and coal projects in the UK - continues to bring areas of central London to a standstill with slow marches.
Protesters have been marching in the capital six days a week since April 24.
Since the group first launched its campaign, on February 14 last year, it says its members have been arrested more than 2,100 times.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show began on Monday and is running until Saturday.
The world-famous show, held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in Chelsea, west London, is a major event in the horticultural calendar, offering thousands of visitors the chance to view cutting-edge garden design and new plants.