On the sidelines of a Sunday demonstration against racism in Bristol, protesters shot up a statue of Edward Colston, a prominent 17th-century slave trader, who they then threw in the River Avon. The same day, in London, a statue of Winston Churchill was erected by protesters.
Protesters protesting racism in Bristol on Sunday (June 7) debunked a statue of a major slave trader who died in the 18th century, Edward Colston, located in the center of this town in south-west England with a slave-like past.
Built in 1895 on a street that bears his name, this bronze statue was torn from its pedestal by a rope drawn by a group of protesters.
When the statue was on the ground, they rushed over to trample it, according to images broadcast on social networks and forwarded by British television.
One of them is photographed kneeling on the neck of the statue, depicting the gesture of the white police who assaulted black American George Floyd in late May in the United States and launched a worldwide protest movement against racism and police brutality.
“An insult to the citizens of Bristol”
“This man was a slave trader. He was generous to Bristol but it was on the back of slavery and that’s perfectly wise. It is an insult to the citizens of Bristol,” said protester John McAllister, 71, quoted by the British Press Association.
Protesters against systemic racism in Bristol, UK, shook and tore down a bronze statue depicting slave trader Edward Colston, rolled through the streets and then threw it into the river to a wave of applause. https://t.co/cc86EDQZHq pic.twitter.com/DFJ6M2a9BX
– ABC News (@ABC) June 7, 2020
The statue of Edward Colston, which had been controversial for years in Bristol, was then pulled through the port city before being thrown, sprayed with red paint, to the River Avon.
The local police announced the opening of an investigation and the Minister of the Interior, Priti Patel, condemned an act “absolutely ashamed”.
Edward Colston (1636-1721), who comes from a wealthy trading family, enriched himself in the slave trade. He is said to have sold nearly 100,000 slaves from West Africa to the Caribbean and America between 1672 and 1689.
He then used his fortune to finance the development of Bristol and good works, which had long earned him a reputation as a philanthropist before shame.
In total, around 10,000 people marched through the Bristol streets, as well as thousands more over the weekend across the UK.
A vandalized statue of Winston Churchill
Another statue was erected on Sunday in front of Parliament in London, that of former Conservative Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the hero of World War II: the inscription “was a racist” was placed under his name in the cellar.
By 2020, it is okay to question & seek removal of public statues. But a small group that decides they can destroy and confuse them is not. Churchill worked with Clement Attlee to stop Hitler’s Nazis. To counter this statue is an insult and does nothing to tackle racism today. pic.twitter.com/W8XQoW80HO
– Caroline Flint (@CarolineFlint) June 7, 2020
This rally in the capital city center ended in incidents with police early in the evening, after starting peacefully in the early afternoon in front of the US Embassy. She made 29 arrests in central London after a protest that also left 14 wounded in her joint, she said on Sunday.