A wooden statue mocking Donald Trump that had been erected in Slovenia – the birthplace of his wife, Melania Trump – has been burned to the ground.
The nearly eight-meter (26ft) high construction, erected last year in a village in north-east of Slovenia, showed Trump with his trademark hair, blue suit, white shirt and over-long red tie. His right arm – fist clenched – was raised high like that of New York’s Statue of Liberty.
Slovenian police are looking for the arsonist.
When triggered, a mechanism inside the statue opened a red-painted mouth and shark-like teeth used to appear.
“Like all populists, the statue has two faces,”said Tomaz Schlegl, the statue’s creator, when he unveiled it last August. “One is humane and nice, the other is that of a vampire.”
Although the construction quickly became a tourist attraction, some local villagers were unhappy with its appearance, pledging to torch it by Halloween. It had to be moved to another village in the area.
Milan Balazic, the mayor of Moravce where the statue ended up, said that unknown arsonists burned it.
He said the torching of the statue “is symbol of intolerance toward artistic projects in our society”.
It’s not the first time in Slovenia that a member of the Trump family has been carved in wood.
A life-size sculpture of Melania Trump cut from the trunk of a linden tree was unveiled in her hometown of Sevnica last June, drawing mixed reactions from residents.
The first lady, born Melanija Knavs, changed her name to Melania Knauss when she started modeling. She settled in New York in 1996 and met Trump two years later.
There are mixed feelings about Trump in Slovenia, where hopes were high that she would promote her home country after her husband took office. But she has rarely mentioned Slovenia in her public appearances, and hasn’t visited since Trump’s inauguration.