Two arrested after dumping red powder on Constitution at National Archives

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(WASHINGTON) -- Two protesters dumped red powder on the encasement protecting the U.S. Constitution at the National Archives, prompting the closure of its rotunda and galleries Wednesday afternoon.

Around 2:30 p.m., two men poured red powder on themselves and the encased Constitution in the Archives' rotunda. D.C. police responded to the scene where they arrested them for destruction of federal property.

There was no damage to the Constitution.

In a video posted on X, two men covered in the red powder are standing in front of the Constitution, one of them saying, "We all deserve clean air, water, food and a livable climate."

Climate protesters have recently targeted works of art and other landmarks to draw attention to their cause. On Tuesday, two climate activists attached images of recent flood damage in the Tuscany region on the protective glass of Botticelli’s masterpiece “The Birth of Venus” hanging at Florence’s Uffizi Gallery.

The National Archives released a statement condemning the vandalism on the sacred documents.

"The National Archives Rotunda is the sanctuary for our nation's founding documents. They are here for all Americans to view and understand the principles of our nation. We take such vandalism very seriously and we will insist that the perpetrators be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Dr. Colleen Shogan, archivist of the United States, said in the statement.

The rotunda houses the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights.

The National Archives said the rotunda will be closed for clean up and is set to open at its scheduled time Thursday.

Thursday, February 15, 2024 at 5:59AM by Luke Barr and Ayesha Ali, ABC News Permalink