Danish statue of Little Mermaid vandalized with 'Racist Fish' graffiti

The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, the city's most famous monument, was vandalized with the text "Racist Fish" graffiti on Friday. 

"We can confirm that The Little Mermaid has been vandalized some time before 9:00 am this morning," Copenhagen police said in a statement to AFP. Police and commentators were puzzled as to who might have done it and what their message really is. 

"An unknown person has written the words 'Racist Fish' on it. We are investigating the case." 

No one has taken responsibility for the act. 

The Little Mermaid, inspired by a character in Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen's 1837 fairy tale of the same name, is a 175-kilogram (385-pound) statue by sculptor Edvard Eriksen. It is based on a mythical sea king's mermaid daughter who falls in love with a prince and longs to become human. 

The statue has been vandalized numerous times over the years, including when the mermaid's head was stolen in 1964 and 1998, as well as when an arm was cut off in 1984.  

The meaning of the apparent racist accusation has however so far left some scratching their heads. 

"Of course, in general with literary works, you can read them with various glasses," Ane Grum-Schwensen, an expert employed by the H.C. Andersen center at the University of Southern Denmark, told broadcaster TV2. 

"However, I do find it a little difficult to see, what would be especially racist in the adventure 'The Little Mermaid,'" she added. 

According to police, other statues around Copenhagen have also been vandalized with "various phrases." One of missionary Hans Egede, who launched Lutheran mission efforts to Greenland, and one of Mahatma Gandhi in the northwestern part of the city. 

Police also said that on June 16, someone had written "racist" on a statue of Danish King Christian IV, who ruled between 1588 and 1648.

(Cover image: The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen was vandalized with the text 'Racist Fish'graffiti. /Reuters)

(With input from AFP)