George Floyd Death Protesters Tear Down Slave Trader Statue

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George Floyd Death Protesters Tear Down Slave Trader Statue

A slave trader’s statue in Bristol has been torn down and thrown into the harbour during a second day of anti-racism protests across the UK.

It comes after largely peaceful demonstrations across the weekend saw some clashes with police.

On Sunday evening, police in central London issued a dispersal order for the City of Westminster compelling people to leave the area after skirmishes.

Boris Johnson tweeted that the protests had been “subverted by thuggery”.

Thousands of protesters massed for a second day in London, as well as cities across the UK including Bristol, Manchester, Wolverhampton, Nottingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Protests were generally peaceful throughout the day, with aerial footage showing thousands of demonstrators flooding the roads outside the US embassy in Vauxhall, south London before marching towards Parliament Square and Downing Street.

But at around 20:00 BST, bottles were thrown at police and there were further clashes as they arrested a man near Parliament.

The crowd shouted “no justice, no peace” as they moved down Whitehall and let off smoke bombs.

As darkness fell, lines of police in riot gear took up positions to contain protesters in Westminster, the BBC’s Tom Symonds said.

Shortly after a Section 35 Dispersal Order was issued until 06:00 on Monday.

The Prime Minister later tweeted: “People have a right to protest peacefully & while observing social distancing but they have no right to attack the police. These demonstrations have been subverted by thuggery – and they are a betrayal of the cause they purport to serve. Those responsible will be held to account.”

In Bristol, protesters used ropes to pull down the bronze statue of Edward Colston, a prominent 17th Century slave trader, who has been a source of controversy in the city for many years.

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 posed 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 Minnesota police officer.

Home Secretary Priti Patel called the tearing down of the statue “utterly disgraceful”, adding that “it speaks to the acts of public disorder that have become a distraction from the cause people are protesting about”.

https://www.bbc.com

“It’s right the police follow up and make sure that justice is undertaken with those individuals that are responsible for such disorderly and lawless behaviour,” she said.

In a statement, Avon & Somerset police confirmed there would be an investigation into the “act of criminal damage”.

Historian Prof David Olusoga told BBC News that the statue should have been taken down long before.

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He said: “Statues are about saying ‘This was a great man who did great things.’ That is not true, he [Colston] was a slave trader and a murderer.”

In a statement the Mayor of Bristol Martin Rees said he knew the removal of the statue would divide opinion but it was “important to listen to those who found the statue to represent an affront to humanity”.

George Floyd Death Protesters Tear Down Slave Trader Statue

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