PRAGUE (AP) — Prague's colorful wall dedicated to the memory of John Lennon has been painted over, leaving just a single message: "Wall is over!"
The wall, located at the heart of the Czech capital in the picturesque Little Quarter neighborhood, began to be painted with Lennon's images and related graffiti after the Beatle's assassination in 1980.
Under the communist regime, it became a symbol of freedom and opposition to communism and young people used to meet there to light candles and lay flowers.
After the 1989 anti-communist Velvet Revolution, it turned into a tourist attraction.
Recently, messages in support of democracy protests in Hong Kong appeared on the wall, while another Lennon wall sprang up in Hong Kong itself.
A group of art students claimed responsibility for painting the wall white on Monday and leaving the message, an apparent play on the words of the Lennon hit "Happy Xmas (War is Over)."
The group called Prague Service said in a statement the students did it to mark Monday's 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution that ended communist rule in Czechoslovakia "to provide free space for new messages of the current generation."
One of the students, Jan Dotrel, stressed on Facebook they did not mean to commit an act of vandalism but that it was "an art project."
Czech public television reported Tuesday that the wall's owner, the Sovereign Order of Malta, is taking legal action. Dotrel confirmed that.
New messages, including "The wall is never over" immediately began to appear there.
It was not the first time the wall had been painted over. Communist authorities did it several times to stop unwelcome adoration of a Western musician and activities considered dangerous to the totalitarian regime.
Another art group painted the wall green in 2000.