Three women have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage after a Chelsea Flower Show garden was targeted by Just Stop Oil Protesters on Thursday morning (25th May).
Activists released several packets of orange powder paint across the flowers and hard landscaping of The RBC Brewin Dolphin Garden designed by Paul Hervey-Brookes at the world famous flower show, which is located on the site of Royal Hospital Chelsea in south-west London.
The Show Garden, which was awarded a Silver-Gilt medal by judges earlier this week, is sponsored by the wealth management firm RBC Brewin Dolphin. Following the incident, garden designer and plantsman Paul said on Twitter that his garden has been 'permanently damaged'.
The Met Police wrote on Twitter: 'Officers responded to an incident at #ChelseaFlowerShow this morning. Three people were arrested at the scene on suspicion of criminal damage in connection with a #JSO protest. Enquiries are ongoing.'
🥀 BREAKING: JUST STOP OIL SUPPORTERS THROW PAINT OVER CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW GARDEN.
🍽️ What good is a garden if you can’t grow food? Millions are starving in the Global South whilst our government ignores the climate crisis, choosing to licence 100 new oil and gas projects. pic.twitter.com/lJfO1ZiOCE
— Just Stop Oil (@JustStop_Oil) May 25, 2023
Just Stop Oil is an environmental activist group calling for the government to halt new oil, gas and coal projects. The group posted a video of the incident, which took place at 9am, as actions in the capital continue in their fifth week. Some visitors at RHS Chelsea were heard calling for security as the three protesters stepped over the rope barrier and onto the garden to release the orange powder. A woman on the edge of the garden was seen using a water hose on the protesters.
A Just Stop Oil spokesperson said: 'Cries of dismay could be heard from the public, though this later changed to applause and cries of "well done".'
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Royal Horticultural Society told BBC News that the show remained open to guests and there had been no disruption to visitors: 'The RHS' primary concern is for the safety of its visitors, exhibitors and everyone at the show.'
In April, Just Stop Oil interrupted the World Snooker Championships at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre, forcing a stoppage in play in the evening session by throwing a packet of powder across the snooker table.
Yes I’m afraid it is permanently damaged
— Paul Hervey-Brookes 🇺🇦 (@HerveyBrookes) May 25, 2023
The RBC Brewin Dolphin Garden demonstrates the sharing of horticultural knowledge through the generations and how this is interpreted for the modern world, with a focus on longevity, biodiversity and habitat for the future. The plants, including poppies, aquilegias and meadow rue, create a space which is biodiverse, while successional planting provides habitat potential. The hand-built oak pavilion structure conveys the idea of knowledge expanding the mind.
Chelsea Flower Show 2023 officially opened on Tuesday (23rd May) and ends on Saturday (27th May) with a plant sell-off from 4pm.
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