COPENHAGEN, July 3 — Denmark woke up today to the words “racist fish” scrawled across the base of the Little Mermaid, the bronze statue honouring Hans Christian Andersen's famous fairy tale that perches on a rock in the sea off a pier in Copenhagen.
Police said it had not yet identified the perpetrators. The 107-year-old sculpture, which is visited by one million tourists each year, has been vandalised before, including by anti-whaling campaigners and pro-democracy activists, twice suffering decapitation.
“We consider it vandalism and have started an investigation,” a spokesman for the Copenhagen police said.
Protesters of the Black Lives Matter movement around the world have in recent months rallied against statues of historical figures who played a role in racist oppression, such as slave traders and colonialists.
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 African American actress Halle Bailey was cast in the central role.
“I am having a hard time seeing what is particularly racist in the fairy tale The Little Mermaid, Ane Grum-Schwensen, researcher at the H.C. Andersen Center at University of Southern Denmark, told local news wire Ritzau. — Reuters