November 15, 2018 / 12:56 PM / a month ago

Phallic-shaped owl statue in Serbia's north sparks protests

KIKINDA, Serbia (Reuters) - Thousands of keen bird-watchers flock to Serbia’s northern town of Kikinda every winter to see one of the world’s largest roosting populations of long-eared owls.

The owl monument is seen in Kikinda, Serbia, November 14, 2018. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

But the small town on Serbia’s border with Romania is now trending on social media for a different reason: a protest over a statue aiming to brand it as the city of owls which many say resembles a phallus rather than an owl.

The protestors say the terra-cotta statue’s elongated shape and minimalist features were obscene and demanded its removal.

“Freud could say something about this statue, it looks so much like a phallus,” one protester said in a Facebook post.

“Now everyone will ridicule Kikinda,” read another post on Facebook. “This (statue) represents something very masculine, but not an owl,” another said on Twitter.

Local sculptor Jovan Blat, who made the statue, could not be reached for comment. Last week he told Belgrade’s Vecernje Novosti daily he was ready to make a differently-shaped statue. Local authorities declined to comment.

Zeljko Bodrozic, editor-in-chief of a local newspaper, said the owl monument should remain in place.

“With all the hype swirling around it ... in a way it also becomes a symbol of our city.”

Keen bird watcher Dragan Simic said he did not care about the statue. “Kikinda is now famous for its owls ... across Europe, even around the world ... the bird-watchers are very active, numerous and loyal tourists,” he said.

(The story refiles to change dateline to KIKINDA from BELGRADE)

Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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