June 8, 2020

Interestingly, rather than escalate the situation, the police watched the vandalism take place, the Police Superintendent saying, “Whilst I am disappointed that people would damage one of our statues, I do understand why it’s happened, it’s very symbolic."

Source: The Guardian

Black Lives Matters protesters in Bristol have pulled down a statue of the slave trader Edward Colston.

Demonstrators attached a rope to the Grade II-listed statue on Colston Avenue on Sunday before pulling it to the ground as crowds cheered. They then jumped on it and rolled it down the street before pushing it into Bristol Harbour.

The historian David Olusoga compared the action to the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. However, the home secretary, Priti Patel, urged the police to respond. She told Sky News: “I think that is utterly disgraceful and that speaks to the acts of public disorder that have actually now become a distraction from the cause in which people are protesting about.”

Supt Andy Bennett, of Somerset and Avon police, said his force was carrying out an investigation into criminal damage.

However, Bennett told the BBC he understood that Colston was “a historical figure that’s caused the black community quite a lot of angst over the last couple of years”, adding: “Whilst I am disappointed that people would damage one of our statues, I do understand why it’s happened, it’s very symbolic.

“You might wonder why we didn’t intervene and why we just allowed people to put it in the docks – we made a very tactical decision, to stop people from doing the act may have caused further disorder and we decided the safest thing to do, in terms of our policing tactics, was to allow it to take place.”

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