Europe

UK Black Lives Matter protesters topple slave trader statue

Protesters throw a statue of slave trader Edward Colston into Bristol harbour, during a Black Lives Matter protest rally, in Bristol, England. Source: PA

Protesters in the British city of Bristol have torn down a statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston and dumped it into the River Avon.

Protesters in the English port of Bristol have vented their anger at the country's colonial history by toppling a statue of a 17th-century slave trader.

Demonstrators attached ropes to the statue of Edward Colston before pulling it down to cheers and roars of approval from the crowd.

Images on social media show protesters appearing to kneel on Colston's neck, recalling the death of George Floyd in Minnesota on May 25 that has sparked worldwide protests against racism and police violence.

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Footage from local broadcaster ITV News West Country showed demonstrators eventually dumped the statue into the River Avon.

In London, thousands of people congregated around the US embassy for the second day running, making clear their message wasn't just aimed at the United States.

"Everyone knows that this represents more than just George Floyd, more than just America, but racism all around the world," said Darcy Bourne, a London-based student.

Protesters pull down a statue of Edward Colston during a Black Lives Matter protest rally in College Green, Bristol.
Protesters pull down a statue of Edward Colston during a Black Lives Matter protest rally in College Green, Bristol.
PA

Protesters, many of whom were wearing face masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus, were "using this time when they're out of work to unite and come together and make a change because it's been like this for too long now," she said.

Following clashes on Saturday at another demonstration in central London that left 14 police officers injured, there were concerns that Sunday's demonstration might take a violent turn.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said violence was "simply not acceptable" and urged those protesting to do so lawfully while also maintaining social distancing by remaining two metres apart.

But most demonstrators didn't heed that call, packing themselves tightly in front of the US embassy.

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