LONDON – A statue of a 17th-century slave trader in the southern British city of Bristol was pulled down by “Black Lives Matter” protesters on Sunday.
Footage on social media showed demonstrators tearing the figure of Edward Colston from its plinth during protests in the city center. In a later video, protesters were seen dumping it into the Avon River.
The bronze statue of Colston, who worked for the Royal African Company and later served as the Tory MP for Bristol, had stood in the city center since 1895, and has been the subject of controversy in recent years after campaigners argued he should not be publicly recognized by the town.
Protester John McAllister, 71, told local media: “The man was a slave trader. He was generous to Bristol but it was off the back of slavery and it’s absolutely despicable. It’s an insult to the people of Bristol.”
Local police superintendent Andy Bennett said some 10,000 people had attended the Black Lives Matter demonstration in Bristol and the majority did so “peacefully”. However, “there was a small group of people who clearly committed an act of criminal damage in pulling down a statue near Bristol Harbourside,” he said.
Bennett said an investigation will be carried out to identify those involved.
On Sunday, tens of thousands of people joined a second day of anti-racism protests in British cities, including London, Manchester, Cardiff, Leicester and Sheffield.
Thousands of people gathered in London, the majority donning face coverings and many with gloves, BBC reported.
In one of the protests which took place outside the U.S. embassy in central London, protesters dropped to one knee and raised their fists in the air amid chants of “silence is violence” and “color is not a crime,” the report said.
In other demonstrations, some protesters held signs that made reference to coronavirus, including one which read: “There is a virus greater than COVID-19 and it’s called racism.” Protesters knelt for a minute’s silence before chanting “no justice, no peace” and “black lives matter,” BBC said.
The protests in Britain were part of a huge wave of demonstrations worldwide sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African American.
Floyd, 46, died on May 25 in the U.S. city of Minneapolis after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes while he was handcuffed facing down and repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe.
Post time: Jul-25-2020