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The monolith defilement in court – denies criminal liability

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On Tuesday, the two oil activists must appear in the Oslo district court, accused of having thrown paint on statues in Vigelandsparken in Oslo. Photo: Javad Parsa / NTB

Of NTB | 23.04.2024 05:50:30

Weather: – The intention was never to damage the statues. The purpose was and is to sound the alarm about Norway’s continued extraction of fossil fuels. With this action, my client believes that they are defending basic human rights, lawyer Cecilie Nakstad told NTB.

She is defending 25-year-old Anne Klenge, who, together with 26-year-old Joachim Skahjem, is accused of having thrown several buckets of orange paint over Gustav Vigeland’s statues in Vigelandsparken in Oslo on November 18, 2022. The trial will start on Tuesday, which will last two days .

– My client has explained and will explain in court that the protest was carefully planned and peaceful in nature. The activists had tested the paint on various surfaces, including stones, and chose to use water-soluble paint that is easy to remove, says the defender.

She states that her client denies criminal guilt. So does the co-accused Skahjem, his defender Trygve Staff tells NTB.

The climate activists stated in a press release that the action was carried out as a reaction to what they believed to be a disappointing climate summit in Egypt. They also demand an immediate halt to all exploration for new oil and gas on the Norwegian continental shelf.

The greasing was met with harsh criticism in several places, including from the political side. The paint was removed already the same day, and this work was estimated to cost around NOK 30,000.

– We were notified of the incident early on and quickly got to the spot to remove the paint, Jarle Strømodden, who is the head of the Vigeland Museum, tells NTB.

– The statues were affected. Granite is porous and has holes, so paint and all liquids soak in. But our conclusion was that fortunately there was no lasting damage to the statues, says Strømodden.

The two activists were from the activist group Stop Oil Exploration. Activists from the same group tried in 2022 to glue themselves to the frame of the Munch painting “The Scream” at the National Museum.

Several similar actions against famous paintings have taken place elsewhere in Europe, most often in the form of the activists gluing themselves or throwing soup, cake or mashed potatoes. Among the works that have been reviewed are Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”, Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” and “Girl with pearl earrings”. However, all the paintings were covered with glass, which “Scream” was too.

The shareholder group has also on several occasions sat in the roadway to stop traffic in large cities.

It was on the morning of Friday 18 November 2022 that the two campaigners threw large amounts of orange paint over the Monolith and several of the nearby statues in Vigelandsparken in Oslo.

In the wake of the smear campaign, the then 24-year-old man who is charged in the case caused a stir when he stated in NRK’s ​​”Debate” that violence could become a necessary tool among activists in the climate fight. The statements were met with condemnation by, among others, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre – and also by a number of environmental organisations.

(© NTB)

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