Unbolted in Bristol by protesters, a statue of a slave trader is likely to end up in the museum

In Bristol on June 8, 2020, where a statue of the slave trader Edward Colston was unbolted before being thrown into the water.
In Bristol on June 8, 2020, where a statue of the slave trader Edward Colston was unbolted before being thrown into the water. MATTHEW CHILDS / REUTERS

The spectacular unbolt on Sunday, June 7, by demonstrators, of the statue in Bristol of a slave merchant of the end of the XVIIe century provoked outrage from the British government. But the city’s mayor said on Monday he wanted to place it in a museum rather than relocate it.

This bronze statue of Edward Colston was erected in 1895 on a street named after him in this city in the southwest of England with a slave-like past. She was ripped from her pedestal on Sunday using ropes pulled by a group of protesters following the death of George Floyd in the United States, a black man killed during an arrest by white police. They then trampled it and dumped it in the river port, according to images broadcast by the British media.

“As an elected official, I obviously cannot tolerate the damage and I am very concerned about the implications of a mass rally on the possibility of a second wave” [de contaminations par le nouveau coronavirus], said Bristol’s Labor mayor, Marvin Rees, of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

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A “historic” moment

“But I am of Jamaican origin and I cannot say that I have a real feeling of loss for the statue”he continued, explaining that he saw her as a “Personal affront” and considering her unbolt as a moment “Historic”. Speaking on local radio BBC Radio Bristol, he judged ” highly probable “ that the statue ends at the museum.

Panels held up during anti-racist protests have also been put together for display at the M Shed Museum in Bristol, local authorities said on Twitter. While condemning an illegal debunking, the Historic England Heritage Protection Association acknowledged that “The statue was a symbol of injustice” :

“We don’t think it should be reinstalled. “

Another statue targeted

Maintaining this statue of the slave trader and MP, who has funded many institutions in Bristol, has been debated for years. While condemning the way she was unbolted, Labor opposition leader Keir Starmer said she “Should have been removed for years” :

“He is a man responsible for sending a hundred thousand people from Africa to the Caribbean to become slaves, including women and children, with the name of his company on his chest.

“You can’t have a statue of a slave trader in Britain in the 21st centurye century “, he estimated.

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Another statue was targeted on Sunday outside Parliament in London. This is that of former Conservative Prime Minister Winston Churchill and hero of the Second World War: the inscription “Was a racist” was affixed under his name on the base.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the outbursts during the weekend anti-racism protests he said were committed by “Thugs who betray the cause they claim to serve”, without commenting on the unbolt on the statue of Edward Colston.

The World with AFP

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