Climate activists attack glass screen protecting Klimt painting in Vienna

VIENNA, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Climate-change activists on Tuesday smeared and glued one of their hands to a glass screen protecting a Gustav Klimt painting in a Vienna museum to protest against oil drilling, on a day when entry was free thanks to an oil firm's sponsorship.

Activist group Last Generation posted images online of one supporter pouring what it called a "black, oily liquid" on the screen in front of Klimt's "Death and Life" at the Leopold Museum, before being intercepted by a member of staff while another activist apparently glued his hand to the screen.

The episode is the latest in a series of such actions by climate-change activists seeking to jolt public opinion by throwing liquid at or gluing themselves to famous works of art in museums or the equipment protecting those works.

One of Last Generation Austria's tweets said: "New drilling for oil and gas is a death sentence for humanity."

The group picked a day on which they will likely have saved themselves the cost of tickets because entry to the museum was free on Tuesday, St Leopold's Day, thanks to sponsorship by Austrian oil and gas company OMV (OMVV.VI).

"Fortunately the (1915) work of art was not damaged. Nonetheless we are shocked that the Leopold Museum was in focus here," the museum's museological director, Hans-Peter Wipplinger, told a news conference.

He added that the museum had recently stepped up security in light of similar attacks elsewhere.

While the museum sympathised with the activists' cause, it disagreed with the means employed, Wipplinger said.

He said he expected Last Generation to foot the bill for the police deployment and clean-up, which he estimated at five figures in euros (dollars).

A museum spokesman said he did not know whether the activists had been arrested. Vienna police were not immediately available for comment.

Reporting by Francois Murphy Editing by Mark Heinrich

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