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Community in uproar after Lima mayor orders destruction of public murals

On orders from Lima’s mayor, and much to the dismay of the city’s artistic community, municipal workers began covering up murals in the historic downtown district of Peru’s capital last week.

City hall workers paint over a mural at the Plaza de la Democracia in downtown Lima on Mar. 14, 2015. Credit: Enrique Castro-Mendivil/REUTERS

City hall workers paint over a mural at the Plaza de la Democracia in downtown Lima on Mar. 14, 2015. Credit: Enrique Castro-Mendivil/REUTERS

“It’s an atrocity,” Pedro Pablo Alaiza, Lima’s former manager of culture told the Agence France Presse.

Mayor Luis Castaneda, who was elected to office in the fall of 2014, confirmed that he had ordered the coverup of the murals and said it was part of a project to revitalize Lima’s downtown, Reuters reported.

The first mural to go was that of indigenous revolutionary Tupac Katari, whose fate was sealed with the stroke of a brush and the color yellow, the same hue used for Castaneda’s conservative party election campaign.

A man walks past a mural in Paseo De La Republica street in downtown Lima, Mar. 12, 2015. Credit: Mariana Bazo/REUTERS

A man walks past a mural in downtown Lima on Mar. 12, 2015. Credit: Mariana Bazo/REUTERS

A woman walks past a wall painted to cover a mural at Lampa street in downtown Lima, Mar. 14, 2015. Credit: Enrique Castro-Mendivil/REUTERS.

A woman walks past the same wall, which was painted to cover a mural, in downtown Lima on Mar. 14, 2015. Credit: Enrique Castro-Mendivil/REUTERS

Artists and residents took to social media to protest the erasure, using the hashtags #SalvemosLosMurales (Let’s Save the Murals) and #MuralesenLima (Lima Murals).

The murals first appeared between 2011 and 2014, during the term of Castaneda’s predecessor and political rival, Susana Villaran.

A man carries bottles near a mural in Lima on Mar. 12, 2015.  Credit: Mariana Bazo/REUTERS

A man carries bottles near a mural in Lima on Mar. 12, 2015. Credit: Mariana Bazo/REUTERS

At the same spot in downtown Lima, a man sits next to the painted-over mural on Mar. 14, 2015. Credit: Enrique Castro-Mendivil/ REUTERS

At the same spot in downtown Lima, a man sits next to the painted-over mural on Mar. 14, 2015. Credit: Enrique Castro-Mendivil/REUTERS

Following the erasure of tens of murals in downtown Lima, the words on the wall read, "Long live the murals". Credit: REUTERS/Enrique

Following the erasure of tens of murals in downtown Lima, the words on the wall read, “Long live the murals”. Credit: Enrique Castro-Mendivil/REUTERS

Take a look at photos of more of the murals of Lima, Peru:

A wall of graffiti is seen at Caylloma street in Lima on Mar. 12, 2015. Credit: Mariana Bazo/  REUTERS

A wall of graffiti is seen at Caylloma street in Lima on Mar. 12, 2015. Credit: Mariana Bazo/ REUTERS

A woman walks next to a mural and a food stand in Paseo De La Republica street in Lima on Mar. 12, 2015. Credit: Mariana Bazo /REUTERS

A woman walks next to a mural and a food stand on Paseo De La Republica street in Lima on Mar. 12, 2015. Credit: Mariana Bazo /REUTERS

A mural at Lampa street in Lima on Mar. 12, 2015. Credit: Mariana Bazo/REUTERS

A mural at Lampa street in Lima on Mar. 12, 2015. Credit: Mariana Bazo/REUTERS

A man walks next to a house with a mural named El Arcangel at Contumaza in Lima on Mar. 12, 2015. Credit:  Mariana Bazo/ REUTERS

A man walks next to a house with a mural named El Arcangel at Contumaza in Lima on Mar. 12, 2015. Credit: Mariana Bazo/REUTERS

At Pachitea street in downtown Lima on Mar. 12, 2015, people walk past a mural.  Credit: Mariana Bazo/  REUTERS

At Pachitea street in downtown Lima on Mar. 12, 2015, people walk past a mural. Credit: Mariana Bazo/REUTERS

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