• Associated Press

Now You See It, Now You Don’t: Banksy Stop Sign Taken from London Street Soon after It Appears

Aaron Chown/PA via AP
A person removes a piece of art work by Banksy, which shows what looks like three drones on a traffic stop sign, which was unveiled at the intersection of Southampton Way and Commercial Way in Peckham, south east London, Friday Dec. 22, 2023.

LONDON (AP) — The elusive artist Banksy displayed his latest work on a London street corner and it was taken less than hour after he confirmed its installation Friday.

A red stop sign with three military drones on it was taken in the middle of the day by a man with bolt cutters as witnesses snapped photos and shot video in the Peckham section of south London.

People commenting on Banksy’s Instagram accurately predicted it wouldn’t be there long after the artist posted a photo of it. Some of his work has sold for tens of millions of dollars.

I went there thinking that people want that, I wanted to see it before something happened to it, a man who only wanted to be known as Alex told the Press Association.

He was among the many onlookers who watched in awe as a man in a red and black jacket climbed up on a bike next to the post where the sign was bolted to and began hitting it with his hands.

We said, ‘What are you doing?’ but no one really knew what to do, we sort of just watched it happen, Alex said. “We were all a bit bemused; there was some honking of car horns.”

The man then left and returned a few minutes later with bolt cutters to finish the job. Another man stabilized the Lime rental bike he stood on and he then removed it and ran away.

Banksy’s thought-provoking street art is often seen as making a political statement. His Instagram followers widely interpreted his latest work as calling for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

Aaron Chown/PA via AP
A person removes a piece of art work by Banksy, which shows what looks like three drones on a traffic stop sign, which was unveiled at the intersection of Southampton Way and Commercial Way in Peckham, south east London, Friday Dec. 22, 2023.