British statue of slave trader is toppled, dumped in harbor

British statue of slave trader is toppled, dumped in harbor

British statue of slave trader is toppled, dumped in harbor

The toppling by anti-racism protesters of a statue of a slave trader in the English port city of Bristol has given new urgency to a debate about how Britain should confront some of the darkest chapters of its history.

Protesters knelt on the statue, in reference to the death of George Floyd after several minutes under the knee of a police officer in Minneapolis.

He has made a series of statements amid global anti-racism protests.

Police have explained why they allowed protesters in Bristol to tear down the statue of Edward Colston yesterday (7 June).

In 1680, Colston started working for the Royal African Company, a mercantile company with a monopoly on the west African slave trade.

Bristol's Colston Hall, which is now named after a 17th-century slave trader, will change its name by autumn 2020 following the toppling of Edward Colston's statue during last weekend's Black Lives Matter protests in the city.

In 2016 Oriel College made a decision to keep the statue despite widespread student demands to remove it. Campaigners from the Rhodes Must Fall group argued the row illustrated Britain's "imperial blind spot".

Other public officials were far more critical of the statue's toppling.

Speaking after the demonstration, superintendent Andy Bennett vowed there would be an investigation into the 'act of criminal damage, ' near Bristol Harbourside, where slave ships once docked centuries ago. Finnegan-Clarke is one of the founders of "Countering Colston", a group lobbying for the removal of the slave trader's name from Bristol's institutions.

Glasgow in Scotland is considering changing the name of streets celebrating slave merchants, including Buchanan Street, Ingram Street, and Virginia Street.

The statue was then rolled into the nearby Bristol Harbour - again to rapturous scenes.

"I think what we've seen is intelligent, wise policing that's avoided the kind of confrontations we've seen here in other cities and certainly in the US", Mr Rees said.

Footage of the moments after the statue crashed to the ground saw hundreds, if not thousands, of local Bristolians, in ecstasy.

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees, who is of Jamaican heritage, told BBC Radio that he agreed the statue should be removed.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said that the bringing down of the statue was "utterly unacceptable" and claimed that it "speaks to the acts of public disorder that have become a distraction from the cause people are protesting about".

Avon and Somerset Police have launched a criminal damage investigation into what happened to the statue, which has always been a source of controversy in the city where it has been situated since 1895.

He told BBC Breakfast there was "historic irony" that the statue was now under water, as people were thrown off the sides of slave slips and there were "many African bodies on the bottom of the water themselves". Already, the weekend's events have accelerated moves to rename Bristol's biggest music venue, Colston Hall. A campaign to remove the statue had gathered momentum in recent years, but had failed to persuade the authorities.

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