A statue depicting US whistleblower Edward Snowden has been removed from a New York park hours after it was erected by a trio of artists. The identities of the activists behind the stunt remain unknown.
According to local police, the statue of Snowden, which appeared shortly before dawn on Easter Monday, was removed from Brooklyn's Fort Greene Park by noon of the same day. It is now being held in Brooklyn's 88th Precinct.
The 1.2-meter (4 foot), 45.36-kilogram bust had been hoisted onto the column of a memorial to Revolutionary War soldiers, with the name "Snowden" affixed to the bottom of the plinth.
In a statement to news website Animal New York, the unidentified perpetrators, believed to be two New York City-based artists and a West Coast sculptor, said they had "updated" the memorial to American prisoners of war "to highlight those who sacrifice their safety in the fight against modern-day tyrannies."
"It would be a dishonor to those memorialized here to not laud those who protect the ideals they fought for, as Edward Snowden has by bringing the NSA's 4th-Amendment-violating surveillance programs to light."
"All too often, figures who strive to uphold these ideals have been cast as criminals rather than in bronze," the group added.
Snowden has lived in exile in Russia since 2013 after revealing mass spying programs by the US and its allies. He now faces arrest in the US on charges of espionage and for exposing telephone and data collection programs used by the National Security Agency (NSA). If found guilty, he faces up to 30 years imprisonment.
ksb/jil (AFP, AP)