Segovia residents don’t want tourists taking selfies with “jovial” Satan

Proposed Satan's statue causes uproar in Spanish city

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Thousands of residents in the Spanish city of Segovia are protesting against a planned 1.7-meter sculpture of a selfie-taking Satan, because they say it makes the devil appear too friendly.

The proposed bronze statue is intended as a tribute to a local legend which says the devil was tricked by a local Segovian into building the city’s famous aqueduct. It was hoped that the statue could symbolize the tale for the more than 800,000 tourists who visit the city, located north of Madrid, every year and take selfies at the site.

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However, offended residents say the statue, which will be perched atop the aqueduct holding a smartphone and taking a selfie, makes the feared Prince of Darkness appear too friendly. Plans have now been placed on hold after more than 5,400 people (10 percent of the city’s population) signed a petition to stop the “jovial” statue because it is “offensive for Catholics, because it constitutes the glorification of evil.”

The petition says 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. A local judge has ordered work on the statue to be put on hold while he investigates if the statue could be considered offensive to Christians.

The artist behind the piece, Jose Antonio Abella, says he’s surprised by the uproar, insisting that he simply wanted to pay homage to his hometown. Speaking to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, City Councillor Claudia de Santos said she would try to ensure the sculpture goes ahead, calling efforts to stop the artwork “unfair and disheartening.”