Wed, 05 Aug 2020

British City Officials Remove Black Lives Matter Protest Statue

Voice of America
16 Jul 2020, 22:05 GMT+10

VOA NEWS - Officials in the British city of Bristol Thursday removed a statue of a Black Lives Matter activist that was placed on a pedestal once occupied by a monument to a 17th-century slave trader.

Well-known London artist Marc Quinn created the resin and steel likeness of Jen Reid, a protester photographed standing on the plinth, after demonstrators pulled down the statue of Edward Colston and dumped it in Bristol's harbor on June 7.

Colston was a trader who made a fortune transporting enslaved Africans across the Atlantic to the Americas on Bristol-based ships. His money funded schools and charities in Bristol, 195 kilometers southwest of London.

The toppling of his statue was part of worldwide protests of racism and slavery sparked by the May death of an African American man, George Floyd, who had been held down for several minutes by police in Minneapolis.

The protest statue that replaced Colston's was erected before dawn on Wednesday without the approval of city authorities. Reid visited the statue of her likeness Wednesday and posed for pictures in front of it. Local residents interviewed after the new statue was erected seemed to appreciate it, but 24 hours later it was gone.

In a tweeted statement, the Bristol City Council said the sculpture "will be held at our museum for the artist to collect or donate to our collection."

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees told the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) the decision about what replaces Colston's statue must be made by the people of Bristol.

He said, "This is not about taking down a statue of Jen [Reid], who is a very impressive woman. This is about taking down a statue of a London-based artist who came and put it up without permission."

City authorities fished the Colston statue out of the harbor and say it will be placed in a museum, along with placards from the Black Lives Matter demonstration.

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