Protesters Who Targeted Masterpiece Sentenced

Judge did not want to deter others from protesting
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2022 2:50 PM CDT
Updated Nov 3, 2022 5:03 AM CDT
Masterpiece Survives Protesters' Attack
Visitors take pictures of Johannes Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" at the Mauritshuis in The Hague, Netherlands, in 2014.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, file)

Update: The two protesters who targeted an iconic Johannes Vermeer painting last week have been sentenced by a Dutch court. They received sentences of two months behind bars, with one month suspended, the Guardian reports. That was half of what the prosecutor had asked for, but the judge said she did not want others to be discouraged from engaging in protest activities by the sentence she issued. The painting was not damaged, but "an artwork hanging there for all of us to enjoy has been smeared by defendants who felt their message took precedence over everything else," the prosecutor said. Just Stop Oil Belgium, with which the protesters are involved, said in its own statement, "Isn’t it ironic that climate activists who nonviolently oppose the mass slaughter of life on Earth are being condemned?” Our original story from Oct. 27 follows:

Climate protesters attacked Johannes Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" on Thursday at a museum in The Hague, with one man trying to glue himself to the famous painting. The masterpiece later was examined by experts and found to be undamaged, CBS News reports. Dutch police announced that three people had been arrested in the attack. Visitors to the Mauritshuis museum shouted at the two attackers, one of whom assured them the painting was under glass and "just fine." A Van Gogh was assaulted earlier this month in London; in both cases, the protesters wore "Just Stop Oil" shirts.

The man with the glue poured a can of some type of liquid on the painting while the other shouted at visitors. "How do you feel when you see something beautiful and priceless being apparently destroyed before your eyes?" he told the patrons. "Do you feel outrage? Good. Where is that feeling when you see the planet being destroyed before our very eyes?" The visitors, unmoved, shouted, "Obscene," "Stupid," and "Shame on you!" at the men, per the Guardian. The museum later issued a statement saying, "Art is defenceless and the Mauritshuis strongly rejects trying to damage it for whatever purpose." (More climate change protest stories.)

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