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The secret police now ensure the security of the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid

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Undercover plainclothes police are now providing security at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, Spain, in response to recent protests by climate change activists targeting museums. Photo courtesy of Joaquin Cortes/Roman Lores/Renia Sofia Museum

November 13 (UPI) — Undercover plainclothes police are now providing security at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, Spain, in response to recent protests by climate change activists targeting museums.

Manuel Borja-Villel, director of the museum, told Europa Press that the “temporary” measures have been put in place as the museum moves in particular to protect the famous Guernica mural by Pablo Picasso, which is not protected by glass.

Picasso painted Guernica in 1937 in oil on canvas in response to the bombardment of a town of the same name by Nazi forces as World War II spread across Europe. The Cubist-Surrealist painting has been considered by art critics to be one of the most powerful anti-war works of art in history.

“The surveillance is circumstantial and depends on every time there is a different element, from more visitors to other problems,” Borja-Villel told Europa Press.

The use of plainclothes police officers was confirmed by museum officials to Hyperallergic, adding that the Reina Sofia has not experienced such attacks as other museums have faced in recent months.

“Increased policing and surveillance is undoubtedly a barrier to access and inclusion in museums, especially for marginalized visitors who may already feel unwanted in these spaces,” Camille said. -Mary Sharp, faculty member of the Department of Museum Studies at New York University. Hyperallergic.

“Undercover police feel particularly unwarranted.”

Earlier this month, two climate change activists who targeted Johannes Vermeer’s iconic Girl With A Pearl Earring painting were sentenced to two months in prison by a Dutch court.

A viral video shared online showed two activists from the group Just Stop Oil Belgium bonding as one poured a can of tomato soup over the other’s head. A third activist filmed the stunt.

The oil painting, among the most recognizable in the world, was painted by Vermeer in 1665 in the middle of the Dutch Golden Age in the wider Baroque era and depicts a girl looking over her left shoulder with a large pearl earring in yellow and blue tones.

Unlike Guernica, it is protected by glass in the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague.

Last month, Berlin’s Museum of Natural History said criminal charges had been brought against two climate activists who glued themselves to a dinosaur exhibit.

On October 14, two Just Stop Oil activists splashed cans of tomato soup with Van Gogh’s 1888 painting “Sunflowers” at the National Gallery in London.

Two other climate activists from Just Stop Oil glued themselves to the base of a famous sculpture in the Vatican Museums in August.