Amechi Idumuebor (AGENDAWATCHDOG) – Black Lives Matter protesters have torn down a statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol and dumped it in the harbour – as demonstrations continue to sweep Britain following the death of George Floyd in America.
Footage shows demonstrators, packed closely together – despite social distancing guidelines, heaving the metal monument down with ropes before cheering and dancing around it, with many placing their knees on the fallen statue as it lay on the ground.
The statue, which had been in place since 1895, has been a subject of controversy in recent years. The most recent petition to remove it garnered more than 11,000 signatures.
Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid has condemned protesters’ decision to force it down today, declaring on Twitter: ‘This is not OK’. Home Secretary Priti Patel branded the act as ‘utterly disgraceful’.
Along with the tobacco trade, Colston’s wealth helped to develop Bristol in the 17th century. He used a lot of his riches, accrued from his extensive slave trading, to build schools and almshouses in his home city.
An estimated 10,000 protesters had gathered in Bristol today to march through the city. Avon and Somerset police have said that although the protests are a breach in lockdown regulations, they understand why people want to gather.
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.
Protesters and police in London have clashed in Whitehall, with fireworks being thrown on the ground and one officer being treated for what appeared to be a cut to the face.
In Parliament Square nearby, a statue of Winston Churchill was defaced, with the words ‘was a racist’ written under the wartime prime minister’s name.
Across the country the crowds have been seen marching close together – despite repeated warnings for the public to avoid protests and obey social distancing measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19