Glasgow protesters cover Queen Victoria bust in jam, porridge, and lewd graffiti

Two protestors have been charged after pouring jam and porridge over a bust of Queen Victoria and spray-painting the word ‘c***’ on the plinth.

The event, which the campaign group This is Rigged said was in protest against increasing food insecurity, caused the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow where the bust is on display to shut temporarily on Sunday before partially reopening its doors.

The protestors, 30-year-old Sorcha Ní Mháirtín and 23-year-old Hannah Taylor, reportedly glued themselves to the plinth before Police Scotland officers arrived to remove and arrest them.

A Police Scotland spokesperson told the PA news agency: “Around 11.55am on Sunday 3 March, 2024, police were called to a report of a protest and alleged vandalism within Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow.

“Two women, aged 23 and 30 years, have been arrested and charged following the incident.

“They have been released on an undertaking to appear at Glasgow Sheriff Court at a later date.

“A report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”

The pair are reportedly from This is Rigged, a ‘direct action campaign targeting the Scottish government’.

The group’s three main demands are for supermarkets to cut the price of baby products and for the Scottish government to both fully fund a “community food hub” for every 500 households and create a fair and fully funded transition for Scotland’s oil workers.

This is Rigged stage a cost of living protest at Kelvingrove, Glasgow smearing porridge and jam over the bust of Queen Victoria - before spray painting the plinth and then supergluing themselves to it Images from This is Rigged https://www.thisisrigged.org/media
This is Rigged stage a cost of living protest at Kelvingrove, Glasgow
smearing porridge and jam over the bust of Queen Victoria – before spray painting the plinth and then supergluing themselves to it
Images from This is Rigged
https://www.thisisrigged.org/media

Ms Mháirtín, an Irish activist and community food worker in Glasgow, said in a video posted to social media channels: “We refuse to be dragged back to the Victorian era. Diseases of starvation including scurvy and rickets are on the rise.

“Freedom begins with breakfast and if you can’t understand that, we’ll shove it in your face. Food is a human right, and we call out the rotten systems under which we are suffering”.

This Is Rigged said in a social media post that “diseases such as rickets which once haunted Victorian slums are now on a sharp rise in Scotland, with 356 diagnoses in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area last year.

“This crisis in public health is a direct result of our government’s chronic inaction on the crisis of food insecurity in Scotland, caused by greed and profiteering and exacerbated by climate collapse.

“We are calling on the Scottish government to meet with us to discuss the implementation of a community food hub per every 500 households in Scotland. We are doing this to get your attention.”

A spokesperson for Glasgow Life told The National: “On Police Scotland’s advice, we temporarily closed Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum earlier this afternoon after climate protestors covered a bust of Queen Victoria in porridge and jam and spray-painted an offensive word on the plinth below the statue. Two people were subsequently arrested.

“The museum has since reopened, however the Expression Court where the statue is displayed will remain partially closed for the rest of the day while our conservation team works to ascertain the extent of any damage. The profanity has been removed.”

The campaign group has been growing in size and capability and last month staged a sit-in at the royal dining room at the Palace of Holyrood house in Edinburgh.

Nine protestors entered the palace waving banners with Gaelic slogans “is treasa tuath na tighearna” which means “the people are mightier than a lord”.

Another sign read: “Change begins in the kitchen, not the boardroom”.

The protestors crossed the barrier to the room, sat at the table and began to eat food out of plastic containers and drink tea out of flasks, forcing the wing to be temporarily closed.

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