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Man arrested over attack on John Constable artwork

June 28, 2013

LONDON (AP) — A fathers-rights group said Friday that one of its members attacked a John Constable painting in Britain’s National Gallery.

London police said a 57-year-old man was arrested at the gallery Friday after reports of damage to “The Hay Wain.”

Constable’s 1821 rural scene — one of Britain’s most famous artworks — was removed for treatment, but the gallery said no lasting damage had been done.

The group Fathers 4 Justice said the vandal was Paul Manning, a “desperate dad” who had stuck a picture of his son on the painting.

The attack came just after another man appeared in court, charged with spraying paint on a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey earlier this month

Tim Haries, also affiliated with Fathers 4 Justice, was bailed until September.

Fathers 4 Justice campaigns on behalf of fathers denied contact with their children. It emerged about a decade ago and made headlines with high-profile demonstrations, including having members dressed as superheroes scale Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey.

In 2004, members caused panic in the House of Commons chamber when they hurled purple powder at then-Prime Minister Tony Blair from the public gallery.

The original group splintered in 2006 following allegations that extremist members were plotting to kidnap Blair’s young son Leo.

Earlier this month it said it was resuming “nonviolent direct action” because its attempts to lobby politicians for changes to the law had failed.

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