Protesters pull down statue of slave trader and push it into harbour

Protesters in Bristol have pulled down the controversial statue of a 17th Century slave trader.

The bronze memorial to Edward Colston situated in Bristol city centre since 1895, was torn down after crowds left College Green.

It had been the subject of an 11,000-strong petition to have it removed.

Protesters throw the statue of Edward Colston into Bristol harbour
Protesters throw the statue of Edward Colston into Bristol harbour (Ben Birchall/PA)

Images showed crowds rushing to stamp on the statue, which stood in Colston Avenue, before it was rolled along the road and pushed into the harbour.

Earlier, protester John McAllister, 71, tore down black bin bags used to hide the statue to denounce it in front of fellow protesters.

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He told the PA news agency: “It says ‘erected by the citizens of Bristol, as a memorial to one of the most virtuous and wise sons of this city’.

“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.”

The statue of Edward Colston has long been controversial
The statue of Edward Colston has long been controversial (Ben Birchall/PA)

Many people welcomed its removal:

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  • Show Comments
    1. Tear down or rename EVERYTHING associated with him and all those that made their name from slavery. ERASE THEM FROM HISTORY.
      Call out the corporations still around that historically built up their position on the backs of slaves. SHUT THEM DOWN.

    2. Keir Starmer says the Colston statue should have been removed ages ago but that protesters shouldn’t have pulled it down. Sorry, KS, but that’s the way things are going to happen. If we wait for a word from you and your ilk we could still be incarcerated in Belmarsh as is Julian Assange.

    3. Half of Liverpool was built on the back of slavery, hopefully the residents there will be tearing down the once iconic buildings and renaming the streets. Except we know that will never happen.
      11,000 is approximately 2.3% of the population of Bristol, assuming all those who signed live in the city. Bristol is 22% non white so it would seem that the statue barely bothered anyone before. Just another mindless act of violence from a bunch of stone cold losers.
      Whilst I’m sure George Floyd would have relished in seeing the violence and destruction carried out in his name, I’m not sure that the likes of David Dorn who died defending his community have benefited from it. I’m sure someone once said you can resist evil without resorting to violence…

      1. The statue probably didn’t bother anyone because they hadn’t been taught the true reasons behind Colston’s wealth. They only teach what Establishment History in schools.
        Starmer was right though. What a waste of good bronze. They could have melted it down and made a bronze Banksy or a statue of JK Rowling. Or some other decent Bristolian.

    4. I witnessed the said event. It was all a rather middle class trustafarian Stokes Crofty kind of affair. The only white working class there were the handful of blokes who defended the cenotaph. Just an observation.

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