George Floyd’s murder has sparked revolutionary protests in the United States. The wave has also reached to the United Kingdom where the anti-racism protestors tore down the statue of a 17th-century slave trader. They dragged it through the streets and then threw it in the sea on Sunday to mark their disgust for the country’s colonial legacy.
The statue of Edward Colston was always regarded with disdain by the black community as he made a fortune by trading slaves in the late 16th century. It is not surprising that amid white supremacy, Colston was celebrated by his supporters and so, a statue was built in 1895 to celebrate his great “business skills”.
However, people are not entertaining racism anymore and so protesters in Bristol, Southwest England used ropes to tear down the monument that marked the memory of slave traders.
The video of the falling statue has gone viral in England but obviously, Conservatives are not happy with it. Leading figures in Boris Johnson’s government condemned this act of protest and said that there is a dire need to stop them.
“‘We live in a country where other people feel they are losing a grip on their history and identity and, I think it’s an error,” Bristol’s mayor, Marvin Rees, told the BBC on Monday. “But many people feel the Colston statue represents a sense of Bristol, so we as a city now need to have a conversation.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel was even less tolerant and said that taking the statue down was “utterly disgraceful”.
The police have decided to conduct an investigation and charge people with vandalism after looking at the footage. Superintendent Andy Bennett said that he was “disappointed” in the protesters but he does understand where their anger is coming from.
Everyone is aware of the colonial history of the UK and the country is decorated with a lot of celebrated figures who are villains in the history of all the countries they looted.
After the monument of Colston was torn down, a petition started circulating on social media, asking for the statue to be replaced by that of Paul Stevenson, a social figure who campaigned for racial equality in Bristol in the 1960s.