Police say tearing down Colston statue was an ‘act of criminal damage’

Protesters dumped the statue in Bristol Harbour

Avon and Somerset police have released a statement labelling the tearing down of the Colston statue as “an act of criminal damage”, but said that “no arrests were made”.

Protesters used ropes to tear down the controversial statue, before dragging it along Colston Avenue and throwing it into Bristol Harbour.

Thousands gathered in Bristol City Centre today for a peaceful protest in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by a white police officer leaning on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

(ABOVE: the moment the statue was torn down)

Superintendent Andy Bennett of the Avon and Somerset Police said “The Black Lives Matter demonstration in Bristol today was attended by an estimated 10,000 people. The vast majority of those who came to voice their concerns about racial inequality and injustice did so peacefully and respectfully.

“The ongoing coronavirus pandemic added a different dynamic to what was always going to be a challenging policing operation. And I’d like to thank the organisers for their efforts to encourage demonstrators to follow Government guidance – a message which many clearly took on board, doing their best to socially distance despite the large crowds.

“Keeping the public safe was our greatest priority and thankfully there were no instances of disorder and no arrests were made.

(ABOVE: the moment protesters dumped the statue in the Bristol Harbour)

“However, there was a small group of people who clearly committed an act of criminal damage in pulling down a statue near Bristol Harbourside.

“An investigation will be carried out to identify those involved and we’re already collating footage of the incident.

“I’d like to thank our partners at Bristol City Council for helping us to ensure this was a safe event for all who attended.”

Featured image: Alon Aviram/Twitter

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