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Climate Activists Arrested – Topical Tuesdays Activities from First News

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Two activists from Just Stop Oil were arrested after damaging a historic painting in London’s National Gallery. They used safety hammers to break the glass protecting the Rokeby Venus, a painting by Diego Velázquez. Just Stop Oil is protesting against new oil and gas projects, blaming them for harming our planet.


Most people understand that serious action has to be taken to protect our planet. But is it right to damage artwork to make that point? Surely paintings and sculptures have nothing to do with the climate crisis? Doesn’t it do more to turn people against their campaign than support it? Or is the cause so important that any action, short of hurting people, is justified? Don’t our leaders need headline-grabbing protests to make them take climate change seriously? After all, many more artworks will surely be lost if the destruction of our planet goes on. What do you think?

Writing skills

What do you feel strongly about? Pick any subject that is important to you and write a short speech outlining what the problem is and what should be done about it. Use your most powerfully persuasive language to make your point. If possible, rehearse it then read it out loud to your class.


Imagine you are a famous statue. Write a diary entry about a day when you were covered in paint by protesters. Explain how you felt at the beginning of the day when people were admiring you, then describe the attack and how it made you feel after that. Remember to write in the first person (I, me, my).


Who was Venus from ancient mythology? Write a brief fact file about her including between five and ten interesting details.

What is First News?

Launched in May 2006, First News is the most trusted weekly newspaper for young audiences, covering global headlines and empowering children with an understanding of the world in which they are growing up.

To find out more about how First News could help your school unlock the power of news-based learning, through high quality, weekly resources alongside the print and digital newspaper, visit the First News Education website.

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