Statue of 17th century slave trader destroyed, dragged through streets by English protesters
BRISTOL, England - The world watched as the bronze statue of a prominent 17th Century slave trader was pulled down during an anti-racism protest in Bristol, England, Sunday.
Protesters in Bristol have pulled down the statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston and pushed it into the harbour.https://t.co/I2uJB8inGL— Twitter Moments UK & Ireland (@UKMoments) June 7, 2020
According to the BBC, the statue of Edward Colston was eventually dragged through the streets and then flung into the Bristol harbor while thousands of supporting demonstrators observed.
The act has drawn reactions from numerous political leaders.
Bristol's mayor, Marvin Rees, said he felt "no sense of loss" at the statue's destruction.
"I think circumstances came to a head and people felt the need to take the statue down," Mayor Rees said.
"I can't and won't pretend the statue of a slave trader in a city I was born and grew up in wasn't an affront to me and people like me," he continued. "People in Bristol who don't want that statue in the middle of the city came together and it is my job to unite, hear those voices and hold those truths together for people for who that statue is a personal affront."
'I'm a descendant of Jamaicans who at some point were enslaved and I can't say that that statue was anything other than offensive to me'— ITV News Politics (@ITVNewsPolitics) June 8, 2020
Bristol Mayor @MarvinJRees says he understands why protesters toppled a statue of slave trader Edward Colston https://t.co/LMk0Wa1m33 pic.twitter.com/Rdjd0zx9UG
Colston was a member of the Royal African Company, an organization that transported about 80,000 men, women, and children from Africa to the Americas.
Shortly before his death in 1721, Colston bequeathed his wealth to charities and this is why his legacy can still be seen on Bristol's streets, memorials and buildings.
After the statue was toppled, a protester was pictured 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 white Minnesota police officer.
Some are suggesting the now vacant location that once housed Colston's likeness become home to a statue of civil rights activist Paul Stephenson.
Mayor Rees says he anticipates the controversial statue of Colston will eventually be retrieved from the harbor and be placed in a museum.