Art activist group Led by Donkeys paints Ukrainian flag in front of Russian embassy

Wheelbarrows full of washable paint were poured along the Kensington road to mark a year since Russia launched its invasion. Four people have been arrested for the protest.

24 February 2023


Yesterday morning (23 February), Led by Donkeys staged a protest in front of the Russian embassy in London, creating a large-scale public artwork in solidarity with Ukraine. The group poured litres of yellow and blue paint on each side of the carriageway on Bayswater Road. Activists then used brushes to create a Ukrainian flag that would stretch the length of the embassy.

In a statement on Twitter, the group explained: “Tomorrow is the first anniversary of Putin’s imperialist invasion of Ukraine, an independent state and a people with every right to self-determination. The existence of a massive Ukrainian flag outside his embassy in London will serve to remind him of that.”

While Led by Donkeys temporarily halted traffic to stage the protest, the paint was spread further along Bayswater Road by passing vehicles driving through the artwork.

Four people have been arrested for the protest. The Met Police tweeted that arrests have been made on suspicion of criminal damage and obstructing the highway. At the time of publication, the four suspects remained in custody.

Led by Donkeys was first established in 2018 through a series of anonymous protests in response to Brexit. Four friends decided to paste a 2015 tweet by David Cameron across a huge billboard. In a 2019 interview with The Guardian, one of the four, now public, creators Ben Stewart recounted: “We were looking at Cameron’s tweet from before the 2015 election, which was doing the rounds again, and pissing ourselves with laughter. We said it would be a real shame if he deleted it because it encapsulates the total failure of Britain’s political leadership.”

Since its guerrilla billboards documenting promises from Brexiteers in the run-up to the EU referendum, the group has worked on numerous protest projects, including projecting a campaign film onto the White Cliffs of Dover in 2020. Led by Donkeys shared the film online and directed followers to a Crowdfunder in support of young refugees who have arrived in Kent.

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Copyright © Led By Donkeys via Instagram @ledbydonkeys 2023

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.

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