Missing London Mural Up For Auction In Miami

A mural by the mysterious graffiti artist Banksy was removed from a wall in London and turned up at a Miami auction house for sale Saturday. London neighbors are protesting, the auctioneers will only say that it was not obtained illegally, and Banksy, as usual, isn't talking.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

We are also following the story of a work of art titled "Slave Labor." It's a mural by the elusive street artist Banksy. It was provocative when it first appeared in Britain, because the painting, "Slave Labor," shows a little boy stitching British flags.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Claire Cober(ph), head of a local neighborhood council says the mural unexpectedly appeared on a wall last spring.

CLAIRE COBER: This is a deprived, diverse neighborhood on North London. And the kids in our neighborhood, they loved it.

INSKEEP: But the mural disappeared last week. A chunk of the building's wall had to be removed in order to take it.

WERTHEIMER: And this week "Slave Labor" surfaced at an auction house in Miami. Auctioneers said they did their due diligence about the ownership but won't say much more. Back in London, people have plenty to say.

COBER: People feel really angry that something which they considered to be theirs has been taken.

INSKEEP: The neighborhood council wants the mural back.

WERTHEIMER: But the auction of "Slave Labor" is still scheduled for tomorrow. It's expected to fetch more than half a million dollars.

INSKEEP: And as for what Banksy thinks, the man we presume to be the artist of this, the famously secretive artist may have the last word. Overnight a new mural has appeared near the site of the old one in London in a style just like Banksy's - a picture of a rat holding a card. The card the rat is holding says: Why?

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