BREAKING: Bristol protesters tear down statue of slave-trader Colston
Cheering crowds surrounded the statue as it fell
Black Lives Matter protesters in Bristol have torn down the statue of slave-trader Edward Colston located in the city centre.
Thousands of people gathered on College Green and in the centre of Bristol to protest police brutality and racism against black people following the heinous killing of George Floyd by a white police officer.
Speeches took place on the plinth where the statue used to stand. The protests remained peaceful as the crowds marched through the city centre to Castle Park.
— Alon Aviram (@AlAviram) June 7, 2020
The statue was then thrown in Bristol Harbour, just by Pero’s Bridge:
"In his will he wished to be buried simply without pomp, but this instruction was ignored."
Edward Colston's statue goes for a drink. https://t.co/Nvs3vfaRmR
— Nick Dixon (@_njd_) June 7, 2020
Edward Colston (1636-1731) was a slave-trader who was born and raised in Bristol. An estimated 84,000 men, women, and children were sold during his time with the Royal African Company. The statue of him in Bristol’s City Centre has attracted lots of controversy over many years, and an online petition calling for its removal has gathered over 7,000 signatures in the past week.
The protest began at 1pm on College Green, with crowds forming from midday. It was sparked by the death of George Floyd on the 25th of May in Minneapolis, when a white police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.
Organiser Yvonne Maina told The Bristol Tab: “The nature of the protest is to be peaceful, it’s all about getting black voices heard and creating a space we don’t seem to have at school, work or even in our own homes.”
She continued: “It’s taking place in solidarity with everything that’s happening in the USA and we’re protesting on the same day as a couple of other cities in the UK. The UK isn’t innocent as many black lives have been lost here.
“At the protest, we will have a couple of speakers at the beginning and end talking about what it was like growing up and being black, we’re also trying to maintain social distancing so we will be handing out PPE.”
A petition has already been set up to replace the statue with a new one “to the victims of the slave trade”.
Featured image and photos: Alon Aviram/Twitter