Yesterday, Black Lives Matter protesters in Bristol toppled a statute of Edward Colston and dumped it in the Bristol harbor with many cheering the moment and others equally using expletives against Edward Colson.
Footage shot by witnesses showed people tie a rope around the neck of Edward Colston’s statue and bring it to the ground in the southwestern city of Bristol.
They then stamped on it for a few minutes before carrying it and heaving it into the harbour with a great cheer.
Colston’s face got splashed with red paint at some point.
The protests are in support of similar protests that are ongoing across the United States and other nations around the world in support against the killing of George Flyod in the US last week by police.
Yesterday’s event in Bristol was attended by thousands of people, just one of many similar protests across the UK.
Edward Colston born 2 November 1636 and died 11 October 1721 was an English merchant, Member of Parliament, philanthropist, and slave trader. His wealth was largely acquired through the trade and exploitation of slaves. (Wikipedia).
Colston utilized his finances attained from the slave-trade to support and endow schools, hospitals, almhouses and churches in Bristol, London and elsewhere. His name is commemorated by several Bristol landmarks, streets, three schools and the Colston bun. Charitable foundations inspired by ones he founded still survive.
Bristol, as an international port, was at the center of the slave trade and benefited 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.
The bronze memorial, which had been in place since 1895, had been the subject of an 11,000-strong petition to have it removed. Residents, including the city’s big community that hails from the Caribbean, are ashamed of what Colston represents.
Colston has been a figure of huge controversy in Bristol with attempts made to rename Colston Hall, the biggest music venue in the city among many efforts to “decolonize” the city.
Police said officers have launched an investigation and are looking for those who “committed an act of criminal damage.”
Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said the removal of the statue would “divide” opinion, but added that it was “important to listen to those who found the statue to represent an affront to humanity and make the legacy of today about the future of our city, tackling racism and inequality.”