Just Stop Oil protesters in their 80s target Magna Carta

Two climate activists in their 80s have targeted the Magna Carta at the British Library.

Reverend Dr Sue Parfitt, 82, and Judy Bruce, an 85-year-old retired biology teacher, entered the library and tried to smash the glass case protecting the historic document using a lump hammer and chisel.

The pair, from the Just Stop Oil protest group, then held up a sign which stated: "The government is breaking the law".

They could be also be heard asking: "Is the government above the law?"

The Metropolitan Police said two people have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and are currently in custody.

The British Library in London holds two of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, with the others being held at Lincoln and Salisbury Cathedrals.

It was issued in June 1215 and was the first document to put into writing the principle that the King and his government were not above the law.

Rev Parfitt said: "The Magna Carta is rightly revered, being of great importance to our history, to our freedoms and to our laws.

"But there will be no freedom, no lawfulness, no rights, if we allow climate breakdown to become the catastrophe that is now threatened."

In a statement, the British Library confirmed two people had "attacked the toughened glass case" containing the landmark charter in its treasures gallery.

"The library's security team intervened to prevent further damage to the case, which was minimal," it said.

"The police were notified and the Magna Carta itself remains undamaged.

"The treasures gallery is temporarily closed until further notice."

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The latest protest comes after the High Court ruled the government acted unlawfully by approving a plan to cut carbon emissions.

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero argued the UK could be "hugely proud" of its record on climate change and the case was largely about process, with no criticism in the judgment of its detailed plans.