A Newcastle climate activist has pleaded not guilty to a charge of throwing soup at a £76m Van Gogh painting in London after appearing in court on Saturday (October 15).

Anna Holland, 20, from Newcastle, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Saturday morning alongside fellow activist Phoebe Plummer, 21, from Lambeth, south-west London.

The pair, who were accused of launching soup on the painting at the National Gallery, both pleaded not guilty to criminal damage to the frame of Van Gogh’s painting  

Three Just Stop Oil climate activists have appeared in court over protests – which included soup being thrown over Van Gogh’s Sunflowers painting.

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Two women are charged in relation to soup being thrown, while a third is charged over paint sprayed on to the rotating New Scotland Yard sign – both during protests in London on Friday.

It comes after Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion demonstrators descended on Westminster, central London, on Friday to protest against the Government’s approach to the environment.

Appearing in the dock together, Holland and Plummer spoke only to confirm their name, date of birth, addresses and to enter pleas of not guilty to criminal damage to the value of less than £5,000.

Prosecutor Ola Oyedepo said the pair threw the “orange substance” knowing there was a “protective case” over the actual painting, though damage was caused to the frame.

Ms Oyedepo said it is unclear at this stage what the value of the damage is but said it is “significantly below the £5,000 cost threshold”.

She said the pair “did not damage the picture because the picture is worth millions”.

Katie McFadden, defending, said: “The prosecution needs to prove that damage has been caused.”

She said the “extent of the damage would be relevant to the proportionality assessment” in weighing up their right to expression.

District judge Tan Irkam released the pair on bail on the condition they do not enter galleries or museums and do not have paint or adhesive substances in a public place.

He set their trial for December 13 at City of London Magistrates’ Court.

Some 28 arrests were made in relation to Friday’s protests, the Metropolitan Police said, while 25 others have been bailed pending further enquiries.

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