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Police arrests suspect for removal of Banksy's anti-war street art in south London

Artwork depicted 3 apparent US-made Predator drones, notably utilized in conflicts across Middle East

Aysu Bicer and Burak Bir  | 23.12.2023 - Update : 24.12.2023
Police arrests suspect for removal of Banksy's anti-war street art in south London


A man was arrested Saturday after the latest piece by British artist know was Banksy, was stolen n Friday less than one hour after it was installed in South London.

The Metropolitan Police said the man was arrested on suspicion of theft and criminal damage after the road sign, artwork by the elusive street artist, was removed.

A characteristic blend of social commentary and art that Banksy is known for, the street art was plastered on a stop sign, depicting three military aircraft resembling US-made MQ-1 predators.

Predator drones have been deployed in conflicts across the Middle East in wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Syria.

Although Banksy did not explain the piece, it is widely interpreted as calling for a cease-fire in Gaza.

Jasmine Ali, deputy leader of the Southwark Council said: "It's a shame it's been taken away because it belongs to all of us," after the theft.

"We'd like it back so that everyone in the community can enjoy it #GetBanksyBack," she wrote on X..

Images and videos circulating online captured the theft, with the perpetrator employing pliers to forcibly detach the sign from its post.

An accomplice assisted in the removal, with the two individuals making their escape as onlookers observed the heist.

Banksy, with a substantial following of over 12 million on Instagram, had shared an image of the artwork on his website and social media accounts shortly before the incident.

The artist is renowned for his unconventional approach to art, often blurring the lines between public installations and performance art.

The unveiling of the new piece coincided with heightened tensions surrounding the Israel-Palestine conflict, where world leaders found themselves at odds over demands for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, pummeled by weeks of Israeli attacks that have left over 20,000 dead.

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