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Dolphin activists pay tribute to David Bowie at demo

Published 16/01/2016

Bowie had approved the use of the track in the 2009 documentary, The Cove
Bowie had approved the use of the track in the 2009 documentary, The Cove

Hundreds of protesters have paid tribute to the late David Bowie by singing one of his classic tracks during a demonstration in London.

A rendition of the singer's 1977 hit "Heroes" was sung by activists campaigning against the killing of dolphins in Japan.

Bowie, who died on Monday, gave permission for the song to be used in an Oscar-winning documentary on the subject, The Cove.

Waving banners and inflatable dolphins, the crowd gathered opposite the Japanese embassy and loudly sang along as the anthem blared from a speaker.

The protesters were calling for an end to the hunting practices of the fishing village of Taiji, Japan, where dolphins are regularly killed and on which the 2009 film is based.

Dominic Dyer, a spokesman for the Born Free organisation, said the bravery of the filmmakers in producing the documentary made the song an apt soundtrack for the demonstration.

He added that it was also an opportunity to remember Bowie's "wonderful legacy" and welcome him into the "wildlife hall of fame".

As many as 138 dolphins have been killed in the cove this year alone, according to organisers.

Earlier, the crowd had marched down from Cavendish Square and through Piccadilly Circus chanting "stop the slaughter in the water".

The Japanese flag was not flying above the embassy, in what protesters believed was a response to their demonstration.

Lyrics for the song were passed out among the crowd before it was played and Mr Dyer prefaced it with a speech praising Bowie for allowing the track to be used in The Cove.

The late singer had a dolphin tattooed on his calf and let the creators of The Cove use Heroes for virtually no fee.

Mr Dyer said: "When the filmmakers produced this really powerful piece of work, they wanted a tune to finish it with that really evoked all of what had gone on in trying to make the documentary.

"They approached David Bowie and he allowed the tune to be used for a very small amount of money. He knew Japan very well, he toured there regularly and had an interest in Japanese culture and literature - he had quite a lot to lose by having Heroes in this film.

"He chose to use and we want to celebrate that, it has become an anthem for the movement."

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