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Semafor LogoDiego Mendoza
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Climate change protesters target Gustav Klimt painting in latest viral video

Diego Mendoza is a Breaking News reporter. You can reach him at dmendoza@semafor.com. Sign up for Flagship, our daily newsletter that distills what’s happening in the world into a concise, insightful morning read.

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Climate change protesters targeted Gustav Klimt's "Death and Life" painting at Vienna's Leopold Museum, pouring what appeared to be a dark, oily substance over the frame before one of the protesters glued himself to the artwork, video shared on social media showed.

It's the latest demonstration targeting famous artwork to draw attention to the fossil fuel crisis.

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Members of Last Generation Austria -- the group behind the incident -- defended their actions on Twitter, writing in a post that "there can be no clean art with dirty money involved."

In the video, which the group posted online, one of the activists can be heard telling onlookers: "We have known about the problem for 50 years. We must act now, otherwise the planet will be broken."

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"Stop the fossil fuel destruction," he continued. "We are racing into a climate hell."

Authorities from the Leopold Museum told Austria Press Agency that the painting was unharmed, with the black liquid cleaned off the frame. Police were called to the scene but it was unclear whether the activists were detained.

The curator of the museum told the outlet that while the activists' concerns were justified, "attacking works of art is definitely the wrong way to implement the targeted goal of preventing the predicted climate collapse."

The trend of targeting famous works of art to protest climate change has been most famously deployed by U.K.-based group Just Stop Oil — whose actions recently led to a police officer being injured in a highway collision.

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