Banksy's first interactive artwork takes aim at French police

Updated 26th January 2016
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Banksy's first interactive artwork takes aim at French police
Written by Matthew Ponsford, CNNLondon
A new mural by street artist Banksy has appeared opposite the French Embassy in London, criticizing authorities' alleged use of teargas in a refugee camp in Calais, France.
The image, which recreates a poster from the French musical Les Misérables, shows a young girl enveloped by CS gas, crying.
A QR code painted near to the mural links viewers to a seven-minute online video of reputed police raids on the "Jungle" refugee camp in Calais on 5 January. It is the first time the artist has created a digitally interactive mural.
The YouTube video appears to show riot police using teargas and rubber bullets against refugees. But a police spokesperson for the local prefect in Calais, denied that teargas was used in the camp, saying last week: "We do not use teargas without a good reason and use of teargas has to be authorized and it is only authorized when it is necessary."
Authorities have cleared a 100m buffer zone along the edge of the camp by a main road, citing security reasons.
Banksy takes aim at French police aggression
The mural is the artist's latest attack on the European response to the continuing refugee crisis. In December 2015, a mural depicting Apple founder Steve Jobs appeared in the refugee camp, accompanied by commentary on the artist's website that made reference to the entrepreneur's biological father, a Syrian migrant who settled in 1950's Wisconsin.
A second mural by the artist in Calais adapted French painter Theodore Gericault's famed image "The Raft of the Medusa," but showed refugees attempting to flag down a luxury yacht. A third mural nearby showed a child looking towards Britain through a telescope, while a vulture stands beside her.
"Dismaland", a large-scale installation created by the enigmatic British artist last August, included a work depicting drowned refugees in boats. Materials used to construct the "bemusement park", a satire of the commercial theme park experience, in Weston-Super-Mare, UK have since been shipped to the Calais camp to build shelters.
The image of Jobs has reportedly been defaced repeatedly since its arrival in the camp. A protective glass plate was placed in front of it by local authorities, but this was torn down last week.