Demonstrators Rally Against the Destruction of Banksy’s Iconic Brexit Mural

A recently painted mural by British graffiti artist Banksy, depicting a workman chipping away at one of the stars on a European Union (EU) themed flag, is pictured in Dover, south east England on May 8, 2017. Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images.

Residents in the British seaside town of Dover are campaigning against the demolition of a building on which Banksy painted his Brexit mural. The building has been earmarked to make way for a new structure under a waterfront redevelopment plan.

On Wednesday, dozens of locals gathered in front of the mural, which depicts a workman chiseling away at the gold star that represents Britain on the European Union flag. The artwork emerged overnight, a year after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in a referendum that shocked the world.

According to Kent Live, protesters were joined by Charlie Elphicke, a parliamentary representative for the local constituency of Dover and Deal, who outlined a plan to save the mural from destruction. The politician announced that he applied to have the building listed under UK heritage legislation that protects buildings of special architectural or historic interest. The mural, he argued, is representative of the UK’s historic decision to turn its back on Europe.

Dover locals campaign to preserve the mural Banksy painted in response to Brexit. Photo: Charlie Elphicke (@charlieelphicke) via Twitter.

“The Dover Banksy is an iconic artwork. Our town is the gateway and guardian of the nation—and on the frontline of Brexit,” he said in reference to the mural’s highly significant location, adjacent to ferry terminal that connects the UK with continental Europe. “Dover is this Banksy’s rightful home,” he continued, “to demolish it would be a crime against culture.”

“Regeneration is about more than just new buildings, he added. “This is about protecting a piece of our history for the people it was intended for, their children and grandchildren.”

The demonstration is the culmination of a lengthy back-and-forth between local campaigners and the Godden family, the commercial property developers who own the building and the mural. When the family indicated plans to raze the former arcade and sell the artwork for charity, Dovorians launched an online petition in a bid to preserve the work.

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