Banksy’s New Artwork Criticises Use of Tear Gas in Calais Refugee Camp

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Banksy’s new artwork located on a building opposite the French embassy in London criticises the alleged use of tear gas in the “Jungle” refugee camp in Calais. The mural is based on the poster for the musical Les Misérables and depicts a girl with tears in her eyes with a can of CS gas lying beside her.

The artwork, unlike the graffiti artist’s other pieces, includes an interactive QR code. When scanned with a mobile phone, the code links to an online video of a police raid on the camps on 5 January.

Despite police spokesperson, Steve Barbet, telling The Guardian that CS gas had not been used to clear the camps, the seven-minute video clearly shows the French authorities using teargas and rubber bullets in an overnight raid.

This piece is the latest in a series of Banksy artwork that condemns Europe’s handling of the current refugee crisis. The mural has surfaced in light of recent attempts on the part of French authorities to bulldoze parts of the infamous ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais and evict 1,500 refugees.

The mural has been boarded up by a building firm so that it can be preserved, though attempts were made to remove the artwork, which has caused damage around the edges of the piece. Police were called to Knightsbridge on Sunday evening after they received reports that a group of men were trying to steal the mural, though the gang fled before the police arrived.

Banksy’s temporary ‘bemusement’ theme park, Dismaland, featured boats filled with the bodies of drowned refugees. Since the temporary park closed last September, leftover parts have been shipped to the Calais camp to help build emergency housing for the migrants.

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Investigations Editor 2016/17. BA Spanish student, aspiring journalist and avid blogger (dreamingofparadise.co.uk).

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