Anti-HS2 protesters throw pink paint at Department for Transport building

Sam HancockWed, 10 February 2021, 7:28 pm

DfT accused of being ‘complicit in the demise of nature and beauty' (PA)
DfT accused of being ‘complicit in the demise of nature and beauty’ (PA)

Two people have been arrested after activists defaced the Department for Transport (DfT) with pink paint in a demonstration against the HS2 rail link.

Protesters from the political party Burning Pink vandalised the Westminster building on Wednesday to send a “message of love”, according to a post on the group’s Facebook page.

“Today two Burning Pink members sent a message of love for our world and disdain at the corporate killing machine. They have no words left, just actions,” it said alongside images of the paint-covered DfT.

The group added its act was carried out in solidarity with other anti-HS2 protesters: “[We are] standing firm with those protecting the pockets of green spaces in our cities … and honouring those who put their lives at risk fighting HS2 above the ground and the warriors below, two weeks underground.”

Police were called in to stand outside the DfT building in Horseferry Road, Westminster, central London on Wednesday morning after the bright liquid had been thrown over the door, windows, walls and pavement. The area in front of it was cordoned off while cleaning staff attempted to scrub off the bright pink liquid.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson later confirmed two people had been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.

Burning Pink’s Facebook post said its members were “disgusted” with the DfT “and [its] complicity in the demise of what little we have left in the way of nature and beauty”.

“[We are] pushing back against the lies and bulls**t … and understand that we have a say in our children’s futures and this say will come in the form of citizens assemblies,” it added.

The British party, sometimes referred to as Beyond Politics, aims to achieve political revolution by replacing the UK government with citizens’ assemblies to tackle key political issues such as the climate crisis. Its founder, Roger Hallam, co-founded the global environmental movement Extinction Rebellion.

A government spokeswoman told the PA news agency: “We always recognise the right to peaceful protest, but there is no justification for acts of vandalism on public property which put frontline emergency service workers at risk during the pandemic.

“HS2 is a long-term, low-carbon alternative to domestic flights, freight and driving which will be crucial to achieving our ambition of carbon net zero by 2050.”

The paint protest comes amid a wave of ongoing actions by climate activists – including anti-HS2 objectors occupying self-made tunnels near London’s Euston station in a bid to prevent gardens above them being destroyed to make way for the controversial high-speed rail line.