Climate activists have spray painted over a painting of King Charles III in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. 

Two members of the climate action group This is Rigged staged the protest at 2pm this afternoon, spraying the words “the people are mightier than a lord” in neon pink paint onto the painting’s background, as well as the group’s logo onto the body of King Charles.

The phrase comes from the slogan of the Highland Land League, which fought for the rights of crofters following the Highland Clearances. 

Read more: Threat to Scottish fuel supplies as climate campaigners escalate

The historic Highland Land League used direct action techniques themselves, including rent strikes and land occupation. The protests were against large numbers of people being moved on from their ancestral lands. 

This is Rigged is demanding that the Scottish government vocally oppose all new oil and gas licences, and create a “fair and fully funded transition for oil workers.”

Last week, the group blockaded the INEOS oil terminal in Grangemouth and the NuStar terminal in Clydebank, preventing petrol leaving the site in tankers for hours. 

The group has vowed to “shut down the Scottish oil industry” and said it will continue taking action until the Scottish government meets its demands.

Read more: Climate protesters blockade two sites to ‘shut down Scottish oil’

One of the protestors said: “Why does the Scottish Government think it’s acceptable to keep allowing new oil and gas projects to go ahead, without even opposing them? If we want a future for our young people, they need to oppose all new oil and gas licences. This is the most basic step they can take to secure a chance at a liveable future. Until this happens, we will continue to target the Scottish government, forcing them to use the powers they do have to stand up for the people.” 

A fellow activist added: “In Portugal, it’s 40 degrees in the shade, right now. We’re going through unbearable heat, and it’s only going to get worse. Scotland is the biggest oil producer in Europe (and second-biggest gas producer), and these emissions affect everyone. We all have a responsibility to stop them, and ensure a fair transition for oil and gas workers.

A spokesperson at National Galleries of Scotland said: "This afternoon there was a protest at National Galleries of Scotland: Portrait. We have closed the Modern Portrait room. The rest of the gallery is open as normal for visitors. At the moment we are assessing the impact but there appears to be no sign of damage to any actual artwork."

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "We were made aware of protestors at the National Galleries of Scotland: Portrait shortly after 3.05pm on Wednesday, 26 July. Two people, aged 28 and 21, have been arrested in connection with the incident and enquiries are ongoing.”