Climate protesters stick their hands on an ancient sculpture in the Vatican


Climate change protesters have stuck their hands on the Roman statue of Laocoön and His Sons, one of the masterpieces in the Vatican Museums collection. Photo/PA

Italian environmental activists staged a second museum protest in as many months, sticking their hands Thursday (local time) to the base of one of the most important ancient sculptures in the Vatican Museums, the Laocoon.

The statue was undamaged, environmental group Last Generation said.

Vatican gendarmes abducted the three protesters and they were processed at an Italian police station. It was unclear whether Vatican criminal prosecutors would eventually take up the case since they have jurisdiction in Vatican City.

Protesters are calling on the Italian government to increase its solar and wind power and to stop exploring natural gas and reopening old coal mines in Italy. They affixed a banner to the base of the statue reading “No Gas, No Coal”.

Last month, protesters stuck their hands to the glass protecting Sandro Botticelli’s “Spring” painting in the Uffizi Galleries in Florence. In this case, they were detained and ordered to stay out of Florence for three years, Italian media said.

Last Generation said the group targeted the Laocoon statue, believed to have been carved in Rhodes in 40-30 BC, because of the symbolic story behind it.

According to legend and the Vatican Museums’ own website, Laocoön warned his fellow Trojans against accepting the wooden horse left behind by the Greeks during the Trojan War. The group said the climate crisis is the modern day warning that is being ignored by political leaders.

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