The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen has been defaced with a Russian flag painted onto its base.
One of Denmark’s most notable landmarks and top tourist attraction was attacked sometime on Thursday (2 March), with police calling it “a case of vandalism”.
The red, white and blue stripes were daubed across the stone that the Hans Christian Andersen heroine sits upon.
Copenhagen police say they’ve attended the scene and have opened an investigation into the incident, which is seen as a sign of support for Russia in the war in Ukraine.
Denmark has been a vocal critic of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which recently marked its one year anniversary. It’s unclear who is responsible for the attack on the artistic icon and a number of puzzled tourists were seen taking photographs of the monument.
The Little Mermaid statue, which was inspired by the title character of Danish author Andersen’s fairytale, is celebrating its 110th anniversary. It was unveiled by sculptor Edvard Eriksen in 1913 after a commission from the son of Carlsberg founder Carl Jacobsen, who was a fan of a ballet version of the mermaid story.
Although the bronze weighs a fairly hefty 175kg (385lb), it has been vandalised numerous times, including being the victim of two beheadings. It has also had its arm cut off, been covered in paint and slogans to raise awareness of whaling in the Faroe Islands, the Hong Kong protests and the Black Lives Matter movement.
In 2003, The Little Mermaid was blown off its base with explosives and later found in surrounding waters.
The Russian flag vandalism in Copenhagen isn’t the first time activists have shown support for the country in their conflict with Ukraine.
In March last year, gravestones in the town of Ripon in the north of England were graffitied with a ‘Z’ symbol, seen as a pro-war Russian symbol of the invasion. In April 2022, an iconic road in Northern Ireland was a similar target. The tree-lined avenue Dark Hedges in County Antrim, which featured in Game of Thrones and 2017’s Transformers: The Last Knight was also daubed with a ‘Z’ alongside the phrase ‘glory to Russia’. No culprits for either act of vandalism have ever been tracked down.