Edward Colston Bristol Slave Trader Statue Was An Affront


Edward Colston Bristol Slave Trader Statue Was An Affront

A statue of a slave trader which was torn down during an anti-racism protest in Bristol was “an affront”, the city’s mayor has said.

Mayor Marvin Rees said he felt no “sense of loss” after the controversial bronze statue of Edward Colston was pulled down and thrown into the harbour by protesters on Sunday.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson described it as a “criminal act”.

Avon and Somerset Police said a decision was taken not to intervene.

Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said: “The PM’s view is that in this country, where there is strong opinion, there is a democratic process which should be followed.

“People can campaign for the removal of a statue but what happened yesterday was a criminal act and when the criminal law is broken that is unacceptable and the police will want to hold to account those responsible.

“The PM absolutely understands the strength of feeling, but in this country we settle our differences democratically and if people wanted the removal of the statue there are democratic routes which can be followed.”

Thousands of people attended largely peaceful demonstrations in cities across the UK at the weekend, including in Manchester, Wolverhampton, Nottingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

But unrest in London on Sunday resulted in eight police officers being injured and 12 arrests.

The statue of the prominent 17th Century slave trader has been a source of controversy in Bristol for years.

Ten thousand people descended on the city on Sunday for the protest which saw the Colston statue torn down and dragged through the streets to the harbour, where it was thrown into the water.

Colston was a member of the Royal African Company, which transported about 80,000 men, women and children from Africa to the Americas.

On his death in 1721, he bequeathed his wealth to charities and his legacy can still be seen on Bristol’s streets, memorials and buildings.

After the statue was toppled, a protester was pictured with his knee on the figure’s neck – reminiscent of the video showing George Floyd, the black man who died while being restrained by a white Minnesota police officer.


Mr Rees said the statue would be retrieved from the harbour “at some point” and it was likely to end up in a city museum.

“I think circumstances came to a head and people felt the need to take the statue down,” Mr Rees said.


“I can’t and won’t pretend the statue of a slave trader in a city I was born and grew up in wasn’t an affront to me and people like me.

“People in Bristol who don’t want that statue in the middle of the city came together and it is my job to unite, hear those voices and hold those truths together for people for who that statue is a personal affront.”

Edward Colston Bristol Slave Trader Statue Was An Affront


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