The Guardian view on Colston's statue: a long time in going


Footage on social media show protestors pushing the statue of Colston off its plinth, spraying it with paint, and rolling in into Bristol Harbor.

Over the past week, massive protests happened across the world to demand equal human rights and justice following the death of George Floyd.

Colston was born to a wealthy merchant family in Bristol but was educated in London, where he was based for most of his working life, according to the Museum of Bristol's website.

RAC ships, which departed from Bristol, Liverpool and London, transported about 100,000 west African salves to the Caribbean and the Americas between 1672 and 1689.

The toppling of Edward Colston's statue in Bristol, a city in the southwest of England, by anti-racism protesters was greeted with joyous scenes, recognition of the fact that he was a notorious slave trader.

Bristol, as an worldwide port, was at the centre of the slave trade and profited hugely financially - not just shipbuilders and slavers, but also investors like Colston, who would buy a stake in the triangular slave voyage between England, West Africa and the Caribbean. Confederate monuments were taken down in Birmingham, Ala., and Alexandria, Va., while a statue of controversial former mayor and police commissioner Frank Rizzo was taken down in Philadelphia.

He acknowledged that, as Mayor, he would have to listen to the people who wanted the statue to remain, while UK Policing Minister Kit Malthouse promised a criminal investigation into the incident, saying "prosecutions should follow".

Protesters in the United Kingdom pulled down the state of a famous slave trader and threw it in a harbor on Sunday, the second day of global weekend demonstrations against the death of an American man at the hands of the police.

Protesters throwing the statue of slave trader Edward Colston into the Bristol harbor
Protesters throwing the statue of slave trader Edward Colston into the Bristol harbor

"It's still underwater, at some point it will be fished out. we will obviously take the statue out", Rees said, in an interview, to BBC Radio Bristol.

"I know the removal of the Colston statue will divide opinion, as the statue itself has done for many years".

Some of the protesters said it was a Saddam Hussein moment, echoing the ecstasy that drove a Baghdad crowd to pull down the dictator's statue in 2003 after US-led troops seized the city.

In the British port city of Bristol, the toppling of a statue has prompted a global debate about monuments to historical figures. The statue was later updated with additional info, obviously crowdsourced by users, like how the memorial was "permanently closed".

Today (June 8), music venue Colston Hall has reasserted its 2017 pledge to change its name, writing on Twitter: "The current name does not reflect our values as a progressive, forward-thinking and open arts organisation - we want it to be representative of the city, a beacon of its values of hope, diversity, and inclusion".

Labour Party lawmaker Clive Lewis tweeted support for the statue's removal.

Colston donated widely to charitable causes across his home city of Bristol, which named a street and several buildings after him.

Previously, campaigners had gathered a petition of 11,000 signatures as part of an effort to have the statue removed.

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