Copenhagen's Little Mermaid statue vandalised by anti-whaling campaigners
Copenhagen’s famous Little Mermaid statue has been vandalised yet again, this time in protest at whaling around the Faroe Islands.
The bronze sculpture in the city’s harbour was daubed in red paint on Tuesday morning, with the words “DANMARK [sic] DEFEND THE WHALES OF THE FAROE ISLANDS” graffitied on the adjacent promenade.
Copenhagen police released a statement confirming they were investigating the incident, while tourists continued to flock to the statue, inspired by the fairy tale by Danish author Hans Christian and commissioned in 1909 by Carl Jacobsen, son of the founder of Carlsberg.
Whaling in the Faroe Islands, a self-governing archipelago within the Kingdom of Denmark, is increasingly controversial as the islanders continue to partake in gruesome hunts called “grindadraps”, where fisherman surround pods of pilot whales with their vessels and drive them onto shores where hunters drive spikes into their blowholes.
No group has claimed responsibility for the vandalism, though one organisation, Sea Shepherd, which has recently collected more than 135,000 signatures on a petition calling on the EU to take action against Denmark for its role in whaling in the North Atlantic, said it was not involved.
Carl Christian Ebbesen, head of Copenhagen Municipality’s culture and leisure committee, told local broadcaster DR that the act left him “offended”.
“National treasures like this should be left well alone. Regardless of whether it’s vandalism or politically motivated, this is well out of line,” Ebbesen said.
“I am not going to get involved in what political opinions people have. Vandalising the Little Mermaid is as stupid as you can possibly get.”
He added that CCTV in the area should be considered to protect the Little Mermaid.
It is not the first time the city’s most popular resident has suffered at the hands of vandals. In 1964 (above), the mermaid’s head was sawn off by members of the social revolutionary Situationist movement, though more than 200 people claimed to have been the culprit in the years that followed.
In 1984, the statue's right arm was removed, but later returned. In 1990 another attempt was made to remove her head, leaving a seven inch cut in its neck.
In 1998 the statue was decapitated again while in 2003 it was knocked off its rock by explosives, and in 2007 it was dressed in a burqa and head scarf.
In more recent years, the Little Mermaid has had paint poured over it, in the name of various causes, including International’s Women’s Day.