June 25, 2018 / 2:43 PM / a year ago

Banksy paints Paris with murals about immigration

A recent artwork believed to be attributed to British activist-artist Banksy is pictured in Paris, France, June 25, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) - Banksy has painted walls in Paris with murals on the theme of migration - a political act by the “hit-and-run” graffiti artist as governments row over how to treat people fleeing to Europe.

The works are believed to have started to appear as early as last Wednesday, U.N.-designated World Refugee Day, and some have already been vandalised.

One mural, on a street in northern Paris where migrants sleep rough, shows a black girl spraying a pink wallpaper pattern over a swastika. The painting was subsequently defaced to make it look like she was painting the Nazi symbol herself.

Others carry signature traits of the British artist, such as a rat familiar in his other works, in this case flying through the air on the cork from a champagne bottle.

A PR agent who has worked for Banksy in the past did not respond to a request for comment.

Banksy, whose real identity is unknown, is famous for outdoor graffiti, including on Israel’s barrier at the West Bank and Disneyland where he painted a life-size figure of a Guantanamo Bay detainee.

Once a small-time graffiti artist from the English town of Bristol, Banksy’s work has become hugely valuable. French authorities placed a protective cover over his painting of Apple founder Steve Jobs as a refugee on a wall at a migrant camp in Calais in 2015. ($1 = 0.7530 pounds)

Reporting by Thierry Chiarello; Writing by Brian Love; Editing by Richard Lough and Robin Pomeroy

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