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Spanish city protests against ‘too friendly’ devil sculpture

Mock-up of Satan sculpture in SegoviaImage copyright City of Segovia
Image caption A mock-up of the sculpture, which has yet to be installed

A planned sculpture of Satan in the Spanish city of Segovia has been criticised for being too jolly.

The bronze statue was created as a tribute to a local legend, which says that the devil was tricked into building the city’s famous aqueduct.

But residents say that the devil – who is smiling and taking a selfie with a smartphone – looks too friendly.

A judge has now ordered the artwork to be put on hold while he looks into whether it is offensive to Christians.

More than 5,400 people – just over 10% of the city’s population – have signed a petition calling for the sculpture to be cancelled.

The petition says that because the devil is shown in a “jovial” way, with a phone in his hand, it “exalts evil” and is therefore “offensive to Catholics”.

Image copyright City of Segovia
Image caption Residents say that Satan’s face should not appear so friendly

It adds that Satan is supposed to be “repulsive and despicable – not kind and seductive, like that of the ‘good-natured devil’ without malice” that has been proposed.

But the artist, José Antonio Abella, says the row has taken him completely by surprise.

“I don’t understand anything,” Mr Abella told Spanish newspaper El Pais. “I just wanted to pay homage to my city and to create something to give back all I have been given.”

City Councillor Claudia de Santos has also called the campaign “unfair and disheartening”.

She told the paper that she would try to ensure that the sculpture goes ahead as planned.

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