Copenhagen, May 30 (IANS) A bronze Little Mermaid statue that sits beside the coast in Copenhagen awoke to find herself drenched with blood-red paint as part of an anti-whaling protest, as seen in epa images made available on Tuesday.
On the pavement in front of the bronze sculpture, which was unveiled in 1913 and commissioned in honour of the fairy tale by Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen, the protesters had written: “Denmark defend the whales of the Faroe Islands.”
The graffiti was thought to be in reference to the harvesting and slaughter of pilot whales in the Islands, which are an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located half way between the north coast of Scotland and Iceland.
The hunt, which leaves some 800 whales dead annually, is highly controversial, with animal rights groups claiming it is inhumane and unnecessarily violent and members of the local community defending it as a tradition that must be protected and an important source of food and supplies.
Whaling has been practiced in the islands since Norsemen first settled there, and has been referred to in texts that date back to 1298.
Whale hunters will first surround the animals by forming a semi-circle of boats, then drive them into bays where they beach themselves and are killed with a special whaling knife that cuts through the dorsal area to the spinal chord.
The water is left red with blood and littered with dead whales that pile up on the beaches.
The killing of whales is protected under Danish and international law due to its cultural roots, but this did not protect the Little Mermaid from being used as a pawn in anti-whaling activists’ fight to have the practice banned.
But she is probably used to it, because the symbol of the city has long been vandalised as part of demonstrations, art events and general mischief.
The sculpture has been coated in paint several times, dressed in a burqa in 2007 to protest Turkey’s accession into the European Union, decapitated twice, blown into the water with explosives and been made to hold a dildo.