Danish sculpture erected to show support for Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - An eight-metre copper statue entitled “Pillar of Shame” was erected in front of Denmark’s parliament in central Copenhagen on Thursday to express solidarity with pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

Chinese-ruled Hong Kong has been rocked by more than seven months of protests. Initially sparked by a now withdrawn extradition bill that would have allowed individuals to be sent to China for trial, they have since morphed into a broader revolt against Beijing’s rule.

The sculpture, which weighs around three tonnes, depicts 15 bodies twisted around each other. Its plinth bears the messages “Denmark stands with Hong Kong” and “The old cannot kill the young forever”.

“This represents... support from the Danish people to the struggle in Hong Kong, to keep democracy and freedom of expression,” Danish sculptor Jens Galschioet told Reuters TV.

He produced the sculpture in collaboration with a Danish political party, the environmentalist Alternative, and the Danish wing of the human rights group Amnesty International.

On poles around the base of the statue are sculptures of protesters’ heads, complete with yellow helmets and gas masks, which Galschioet said the protesters had sent him.

Hong Kong returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997 with sweeping promises of a high degree of autonomy and freedoms.

But the protesters say Beijing has failed to honour its commitments and say the rule of law and democratic freedoms are being eroded. Beijing denies meddling in Hong Kong and blames the West for stirring up trouble.

Reporting by Andreas Mortensen; Editing by Gareth Jones