The protesters, who are part of the campaign group Just Stop Oil Belgium, were each sentenced to two months in prison, one of which was suspended.
“How do you feel when you see something beautiful and priceless being seemingly destroyed right before your eyes?” one of the men asked the onlookers in English. “Do you feel outraged? Good. Where is that feeling when you see the planet destroying itself before our eyes?
Police officers stand guard outside the Mauritshuis museum shortly after the incident on October 27, 2022. Credit: Phil Nijhuisanp/ANP/AFP/Getty Images
Gallery visitors can be heard objecting with cries of “obscene” and “shame on you”.
“This painting is protected by glass, it’s very good,” continued the protester. “The vulnerable people in the countries of the South, they are not protected. The future of our children is not protected.”
In a press release announcing the decision, prosecutors said they wanted to “send a signal” to activists, adding: “An artwork hanging there for everyone to enjoy has been smeared with ( the defendants) who felt their message. took precedence over everything else. »
Prosecutors had originally asked for four months, two of which were suspended, but the judge said she did not want her sentence to discourage others from protesting, according to Reuters.
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The two men were tried by an expedited trial for destruction and open violence against the painting. The third activist, who disagreed with the speeding up of the trial, will appear in court on Friday. Prosecutors said all three were “jointly responsible” for the act, Reuters reported.
Responding to Wednesday’s court ruling, Just Stop Oil Belgium, which is not affiliated with its British namesake, told Reuters via email: “Isn’t it ironic that climate activists who nonviolently oppose the massive slaughter of life on Earth be condemned?”
Additional Reuters reporting.
Top image: Visitors look at Johannes Vermeer’s painting ‘The Girl with a Pearl Earring’ in the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague.