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Slave-Trader Statue Meets Watery Fate

Bristol protesters tear down Edward Colston's likeness
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2020 3:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – A slave trader's statue is no more after British protesters ripped it down Saturday and dumped it in a harbor, the BBC reports. The protesters, inspired by America's George Floyd demonstrations, screamed and howled as the bronze statue of 17th-century Edward Colston came toppling down. A black protester promptly jumped on the podium and raised his protest sign to cries of delight. Another put his knee on the statue's neck. "Statues are about saying 'This was a great man who did great things,'" says historian David Olusoga. "That is not true, he [Colston] was a slave trader and a murderer."

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Colston was part of the Royal African Company, which sent roughly 80,000 people—including women and children—from Africa to the Americas. Colston left his wealth to charities upon dying in 1721, but CNN notes that his 1895 statue was growing "increasingly controversial." Yet not everyone is pleased. The statue removal was "utterly disgraceful," says Home Secretary Priti Patel, who adds that "it speaks to the acts of public disorder that have become a distraction from the cause people are protesting about." Patel suggests that police should inflict "justice" on those who relocated Colston's likeness to Bristol harbor. (Read more George Floyd stories.)

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