Little Mermaid defaced with paint, dildo

Denmark’s national symbol, the Little Mermaid sculpture perched on a rock overlooking the Copenhagen port, was splattered with green paint by vandals and adorned with a dildo, police said on Thursday.

“We are taking this very seriously because one cannot accept vandalism, not on the Little Mermaid or any other public statue,” police Deputy Commissioner Peter Steffensen said.

Investigators have “no leads on the perpetrators of the act ... which took place early Wednesday”, he said.

The attackers scrawled “8 marts” across the rock on which the Little Mermaid sits, marking the date in Danish of International Women’s Day, which was celebrated around the world on Wednesday.

“But we are not sure that it was women who committed this act,” Steffensen said.

On Thursday, the statue was cleaned up and the sex toy removed.

The Little Mermaid, one of Denmark’s biggest tourist attractions, is based on the character created by Hans Christian Andersen in an 1837 fairytale.

Sculptor Edward Eriksen was commissioned by Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen to create a statue of the Little Mermaid to sit on a granite stone at Langelinie Pier, wistfully looking for her prince.

The sculpture, which stands 125cm high and weighs 175kg, has watched over the Copenhagen port since 1913.

Wednesday’s incident was just the latest of a slew of mishaps that have befallen her.

In the past 40 years, she has been decapitated twice, most recently in January 1998 after a 1990 attempt failed. She has had a bra and knickers painted on her, has been entirely covered in paint on more than one occasion, and has had her right arm cut off.

In September 2003, attackers tossed the bronze art work in the water, where police later recovered it, and in December 2004 she was draped in a burka and a sash reading “Turkey in the EU?” by opponents of the Muslim country’s entry into the European Union.—Sapa-AFP

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