George Floyd death: Protesters tear down slave trader statue


Media captionProtesters in Bristol pull down a statue of slave trader Edward Colston

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 in London on Saturday ended in some clashes with police.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick urged protesters to find another way to make their views heard.

But thousands of protesters massed for a second day outside the US embassy in London before moving towards Whitehall.

Other protests have been taking place in Manchester, Wolverhampton, Nottingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Media captionAerials show thousands of protesters in London, from the US embassy to Parliament Square

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.

Protesters pull down a statue of Edward Colston during a Black Lives Matter protestImage copyrightPA MEDIA
Image captionProtesters knelt on the neck of the bronze statue of Colston

The statue was later dragged through the streets of Bristol and thrown into the harbour. The empty plinth was used as a makeshift stage for protesters.

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

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.”

Protesters gather in BristolImage copyrightPA MEDIA
Image captionThousands took part in a protest on College Green in Bristol city centre
Protesters holds up placards as they attend a demonstration in Edinburgh on 7 JuneImage copyrightAFP
Image captionPeople also gathered in Edinburgh, with some describing racism as a “pandemic”

Aerial footage in London showed thousands more protesters flooding the roads outside the US embassy in Vauxhall, south London before marching towards Parliament Square and Downing Street.

They appeared to be ignoring warnings from both the police commissioner and Health Secretary Matt Hancock not to congregate and risk spreading the coronavirus.

But free masks, gloves and hand gel were being handed out by volunteers.

Labour’s Lisa Nandy backed the demonstrations, saying people “cannot be silent in the face of racism”.

The shadow foreign secretary said young people were “right to raise their voices” but urged demonstrators to take precautions and socially distance amid fears that the mass gatherings could prompt another spike in coronavirus cases.

Ms Nandy told the BBC’s Andrew Marr she was “proud” of young people demanding change following mass anti-racism protests across the UK on Saturday.

“I think it’s one of the most important things about living in a free society is that people can go out and protest,” she said.

A demonstrator shouts through a megaphone outside London's US embassyImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionProtesters chant “Black Lives Matter” and “no justice, no peace”
People take part in a Black Lives Matter protest rally at the US Embassy, LondonImage copyrightPA MEDIA
Image captionGeorge Floyd’s death in May has sparked worldwide anti-racism protests
Protesters gather near US Embassy in south London on Sunday 7 JuneImage copyrightJOEY KONG
Image captionThousands of protesters have made their way to the US Embassy near Vauxhall, south London

Protesters tear down statue amid anti-racism demos

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Officers injured

Authorities are hoping that the clashes, which broke out near Downing Street on Saturday evening between police and protesters, will not be repeated.

Missiles and fireworks were aimed at police and bikes were also thrown by some demonstrators.

The Metropolitan Police said 14 officers were injured, including a mounted officer who came off a horse as it bolted down Whitehall, with a further 13 hurt during demonstrations earlier in the week.

An injured police officers is attended to after falling off her horseImage copyrightPRESS ASSOCIATION
Image captionA police officer who fell from a horse was treated on Whitehall on Saturday evening


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