Churchill, slave trader Edward Colston's statues vandalised amid protests in UK

 | Updated: Jun 08, 2020, 05:20 PM IST


The anger over African-American George Floyd's brutal killing in the US at the hands of a Minneapolis policeman spilled on to the streets in the UK with protesters vandalising statues.

Former Prime MInister Winston Churchill's statue

The statue of former British prime minister Winston Churchill was also defaced, with the words Churchill "was a racist" written on it's base at Parliament Square, central London after a demonstration outside the US embassy.


Edward Colston's statue toppled

Protesters in Bristol, UK also tore down the statue of Edward Colston, a slave trader who is believed to have a monopoly on the west African slave trade, and threw it into the water beside Pero's Bridge.

Colston's had joined a company Royal African Company (RAC) in 1680 which is believed to have sold around 100,000 west Africans in the Caribbean and the Americas.


George Floyd's murder

The protests triggered after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis brought people out on the street in the UK with thousands marching in Manchester, London and other UK cities amid the coronavirus pandemic.


Mass gathering outside Downing Street office

Londoners have been protesting for over week as people defied coronavirus restrictions on mass gatherings to march through the capital to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Downing Street office last week.

However, the demonstrations in front of 10, Downing Street was largely peaceful in mid-week as protesters chanted Floyd's name as they walked and vehicles beeped in support, although there were some clashes with police.

On Saturday, the London police reported making 29 arrests during a day of largely peaceful protests.


'Those responsible will be held'

British interior minister Priti Patel called the toppling of British slave trader Edward Colston "utterly disgraceful" even as the police said it would carry out an investigation

The 18-foot bronze statue had stood on Bristol's Colston Avenue since 1895. The city also has a school named after Colston.

PM Boris Johnson said, "These demonstrations have been subverted by thuggery -- and they are a betrayal of the cause they purport to serve," in a tweet, adding, "Those responsible will be held to account."


"Those responsible will be held to account, " the British PM added.


Opinions divided

The toppling of the statue divided opinion as Bristol mayor Marvin Rees said: "I know the removal of the Colston Statue will divide opinion, as the statue itself has done for many years," adding,"However, it's important to listen to those who found the statue to represent an affront to humanity."

UK opposition Labour party lawmaker Clive Lewis in a tweet said: "Good". "Someone responsible for immeasurable blood & suffering. We’ll never solve structural racism till we get to grips with our history in all its complexity. #BLM"