Danish police investigate after ‘racist fish’ is scrawled on Little Mermaid statue

Copenhagen police say they consider the daubing of the landmark to be vandalism

Police stand by the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, Denmark, after it was vandalised. Photograph: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix via AP

Police stand by the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, Denmark, after it was vandalised. Photograph: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix via AP

 

Denmark woke up on Friday to the words “racist fish” scrawled across the base of the Little Mermaid, the bronze statue honouring Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairytale which perches on a rock in the sea off a pier in Copenhagen.

Danish police said they had not yet identified the perpetrators. The 107-year-old sculpture, which is visited by 1 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 of the latest incident.

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 black actor Halle Bailey was cast in the central role.

“I am having a hard time seeing what is particularly racist in the fairytale The Little Mermaid,” Ane Grum-Schwensen, researcher at the HC Andersen Centre at the University of Southern Denmark, told local news wire Ritzau. – Reuters