‘Little Mermaid’ statue vandalized with ‘racist fish’ in Denmark

Police stand by the statue of the Little Mermaid, after it was vandalized, in Copenhagen, Denmark, Friday, July 3, 2020. Mads Claus Rasmussen/ Ritzau Scanpix via AP

Statues and monuments around the world are getting timely facelifts as late, including the famed statue of The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen most recently.

The bronze creation of Hans Christian Andersen’s famous character is one of the city’s biggest tourist draws. On Friday, it was found to have been tagged with the words “racist fish” in black spray paint, the Associated Press reports.

The oft-attacked 1.65-metre statue sits at the entrance of the Copenhagen harbour and was created to honour the Danish storyteller, who wrote of the popular deep-sea mermaid longing for legs to live among humans, with the prince she falls in love with.

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No one has taken responsibility for vandalism yet, and it isn’t the first time the monument has been a target. In the past, the 107-year-old statue has been beheaded and painted over.

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“We consider it vandalism and have started an investigation,” a spokesperson for the Copenhagen police told Reuters.

“I am having a hard time seeing what is particularly racist in the fairy tale The Little Mermaid,” Ane Grum-Schwensen, a researcher at the H.C. Andersen Center at University of Southern Denmark, told local news wire Ritzau.

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The Little Mermaid has not been part of this debate, but last year, a Disney live-action remake of the 1989 animated film of the same name was the subject of a controversy after Black actor Halle Bailey was cast in the central role.

Monuments commemorating historical figures who played a role in colonization and racial oppression are the latest targets as the Black Lives Matter movement has picked up speed across the world.

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Many of these monuments are being removed.

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In June, the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee was removed from Richmond, Va., per CNN. Protesters removed the head of six-foot-tall Christopher Columbus in Boston’s North End the same month, per the Boston Globe. On June 9, a bronze topper honouring the Jacksonville Light Infantry, a division in the Confederacy, was removed lawfully, WTXL-TV reported.

Other states, from Georgia to Indiana to Kentucky, have also been getting rid of statues remembering Confederate soldiers and colonizers.

— With files from the Associated Press and Reuters


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