Floyd protesters in England pull down statue of British slave trader Edward Colston
Protesters in England pulled down a statue of British slave trader Edward Colston and threw it in the harbor on Sunday.
Across the Atlantic Ocean, demonstrators outraged by George Floyd’s death after being detained by police in Minneapolis toppled the statue of the 17th century merchant and slave trader in Bristol.
Colston’s company the Royal African Company sent more than 100,000 slaves from West Africa to the Caribbean and the Americas between 1672 and 1689 in tightly packed boats, according to The Guardian. More than 20,000 of those died during the trip due to unhygienic conditions, dehydration, dysentery and scurvy.
The 18-foot statue that was put up in 1895 was initially covered with canvas for the protests when demonstrators threw eggs at it. The protesters removed the canvas and attached ropes around the head before pushing it over, BBC reported.
Protesters then rolled the statue down the street before pushing it into the river Avon.
— BBC Radio Bristol (@bbcrb) June 7, 2020
Colston’s statue has been a divisive object in the English city as some support it staying, while others do not want to commemorate the man. One petition to remove it has gathered more than 11,000 signatures, according to The Guardian.
Other places in the city named after Colston have made efforts to change names, including Bristol’s largest concert hall. Colston donated to churches and hospitals in the city, but a significant portion of his money came from his slave trading company.
Bristol’s Mayor Marvin Rees called on people to “listen to those who found the statue to represent an affront to humanity,” according to The Guardian.
Video footage showed former officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck last month, while Floyd said he couldn’t breathe and became unresponsive. Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder.
Several statues commemorating Confederate leaders were targets for protesters in the U.S. as many were defaced and one in Richmond, Va. was toppled Saturday.