Carcassonne's massive circle art upsets locals

Online petition calling for artwork to be removed quickly picks up more than 1,800 signatures

A massive work of art to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the medieval Cité of Carcassonne's classification as a UNESCO World Heritage site has angered residents.

Swiss artist Felice Varini was asked to come up with one of his famous eye-deceiving illusions using a technique known as anamorphosis to celebrate the anniversary.

He attached giant concentric yellow circles made of thin aluminium strips to the ramparts of the fortress that had fallen into ruins before it was restored by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century.

The work, called Eccentric Concentric Circles, was officially inaugurated earlier this month - but it has left many locals unimpressed.

"The people of Carcassonne were not consulted. This is ruining our lives, because we have to look at it all day," one inhabitant told France Info radio, while an online petition calling for it to be removed has already been signed by more than 1,800 people.

A petition has been launched to campaign for the removal of the artwork, which it describes as filth. It has quickly garnered 1,400 signatures.

According to reports some more literally minded critics of the art have tried to clean it off walls, prompting authorities to post signs in several languages warning visitors not to touch the artwork or "tear" it.

Visitors are also warned that video surveillance is in place.

France's Centre of national Monuments (CMN), which commissioned the work, has refused to reveal the cost of the project, which is due to remain in place until September.

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