Bristol Black Lives Matter Protesters Throw Slave Trader Statue Into Harbor After Pulling It Down

The bronze monument to Edward Colston had stood in the center of Bristol for over 125 years — until protesters tore it down.

bristol black lives matter protesters throw slave trader statue into harbor after pulling it down
bristol black lives matter protesters throw slave trader statue into harbor after pulling it down

Demonstrators attached ropes to the statue before pulling it down to cheers and roars of approval from the crowd.

bristol black lives matter protesters throw slave trader statue into harbor after pulling it down
bristol black lives matter protesters throw slave trader statue into harbor after pulling it down

Images shared on social media show protesters appearing to kneel on Colston’s neck, recalling the death of George Floyd.

bristol black lives matter protesters throw slave trader statue into harbor after pulling it down
bristol black lives matter protesters throw slave trader statue into harbor after pulling it down

And footage from the scene showed angry demonstrators eventually dumping the statue into the River Avon.

The controversial bronze memorial, made by sculpture John Cassidy, had stood in Bristol’s city center since 1895.

bristol black lives matter protesters throw slave trader statue into harbor after pulling it down
bristol black lives matter protesters throw slave trader statue into harbor after pulling it down
bristol black lives matter protesters throw slave trader statue into harbor after pulling it down
bristol black lives matter protesters throw slave trader statue into harbor after pulling it down
bristol black lives matter protesters throw slave trader statue into harbor after pulling it down
bristol black lives matter protesters throw slave trader statue into harbor after pulling it down

Before the toppling, over 10,000 people had signed a petition calling on Bristol City Council to remove it.

And a 71-year-old activist, John McAllister, removed the black bin bags hiding the statue from the public.

McAllister said:

” It says ‘erected by the citizens of Bristol… as a memorial to one of the most virtuous and wise sons of this city’.”

But the activist added:

“The man was a slave trader. He was generous to Bristol, but it was off the back of slavery. And it’s absolutely despicable. It’s an insult to the people of Bristol.”

Colston was born in 1636 and worked for the Royal African Company. He also served as a Conservative MP for Bristol.

He human-trafficked more than 84,000 African men, women and children to the Caribbean and America during his time. And an estimate of over 19,000 slaves died on their way.

Labour MPs tweeted in solidarity with the removal of the statue, with Clive Lewis writing:

“If statues of confederates who fought a war for slavery & white supremacy should come down, then why not this one? Someone responsible for immeasurable blood & suffering.”

“We’ll never solve structural racism till we get to grips with our history in all its complexity.”

After activists threw the statue into the river, Bristol City Council later hauled it out of the waters.

It’ll now become a local museum exhibit, complete with its anti-racism graffiti.

bristol black lives matter protesters throw slave trader statue into harbor after pulling it down
bristol black lives matter protesters throw slave trader statue into harbor after pulling it down

Ray Barnett, head of collections and archives at Bristol City Council, said:

“The ropes that were tied around him, the spray paint added to him, is still there. So, we’ll keep him like that.”

The slave trader is still significantly present in Bristol. The name Colston is commonly used in many buildings and charities.

However, many places, such as schools, are now looking to change it.