Lewis Hamilton praises protesters for toppling statue of English slave trader

Среда, 10 Июн, 2020

The British government on Monday denounced the toppling of a slave trader's statue during anti-racism protests, urging campaigners to use democratic means for change rather than breaking the law.

Hamilton, 35, has actively supported the Black Lives Matter movement, calling out his own sport's initial silence over the killing of Floyd, who died after a white USA police officer knelt on his neck last month.

But the extent of Colston's philanthropy in his home city, as well as the decision to erect a statue of him there in 1895, have made the local arguments about slavery's legacy there particularly fraught.

Colston grew up in a wealthy merchant family and joined a company in 1680 that had a monopoly on the west African slave trade.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the clashes, which saw 36 people arrested and 35 police officers injured, as "a betrayal of the cause they (protesters) purport to serve".

For more than 100 years the statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston looked out over Bristol city centre.

Sir Keir Stammer leader of the main opposition party in Britain stated, "You can't, in 21st century Britain, have a slaver on a statue", according to The Telegraph .

The toppling of Colston's statue has prompted a heated debate among the broader public over the role of monuments in memorialising and celebrating the role of historical figures, especially those with tarnished records on race.

Asked whether he wanted to see those involved with removing the statue charged, Mr Rees added: "That is up to the criminal justice system". Finnegan-Clarke is one of the founders of "Countering Colston", a group lobbying for the removal of the slave trader's name from Bristol's institutions.

"After such sacrifice, we can not now let it get out of control", he said.

"But I am of Jamaican heritage and I can not pretend that I have any real sense of loss for the statue and I can not pretend it was anything other than a personal affront to me to have it in the middle of Bristol, the city in which I grew up".

In 2017, initial plans were announced to change the name by spring 2020 as Chief Exec Louise Mitchell described the Colston name as "a toxic brand", but actions were delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"People had called for many years for that statue to be removed".

Some of the protesters said it was a Saddam Hussein moment, echoing the ecstasy that drove a Baghdad crowd to pull down the dictator's statue in 2003 after US-led troops seized the city.

Avon and Somerset Police have launched a criminal damage investigation into what happened to the statue, which has always been a source of controversy in the city where it has been situated since 1895.

Activists mounted efforts to rename Colston Hall, the largest music venue in the city, among many efforts to "decolonize" the city.

In Brussels, Belgium, 30 000 or so signatures have been collected by two petitions calling for the removal of all statues and monuments dedicated to King Leopold II.