Black Lives Matter protesters put “60 racist statues of the UK in 30 cities” on hit list

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Hundreds of statues and plaques could be destroyed in a climate of growing anger over controversial figures from the British past.As protests took place this evening, Labor-led councils launched a review of the memorials following the overthrow of a tribute to Bristol slave trader Edward Colston last weekend.

Activists have identified 60 statues and plaques in more than 30 cities, and some have also called for the streets to be renamed.

The memorials are on the Topple the Racists results list, to which the public can add their suggestions.



Robert Milligan’s statue at West India Docks before it was dismantled

The statues have become focal points for Black Lives Matter protesters protesting the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.

About 3,000 protesters gathered in Oxford to demand that the university remove a statue of the imperialist Cecil Rhodes on the facade of Oriel College.

There were chants of “take it down, take it down” and “no justice, no peace” as organizer Laura Stewart said.



A street sign for Black Boy Lane in North London

To applaud, she said, “It is time to decolonize our system, decolonize infrastructure and program in Oxford and everywhere else. ”

The protesters sat with a raised fist for eight minutes and 46 seconds – the length of time associated with the murder of Mr. Floyd in detention.

Phantom Chancellor and MP for Oxford East Anneliese Dodds said: “His presence is a visible symbol of racism and prejudice for many. It is clear that there is an overwhelming consensus for its removal. “



Police officers surround the statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square

Education spokeswoman for Lib Dem, Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran said, “It’s time to take these things down.”

Oriel College said: “We continue to debate the issues raised by the presence on our site of examples of contested heritage relating to Cecil Rhodes.”

Yesterday, a memorial to Queen Victoria in Leeds was sprayed with graffiti saying: “Black Lives Matter”, “BLM”, “colonize”, “educate” and “slave slave”.



The statue of Queen Victoria at Woodhouse Moor Park in Leeds, West Yorkshire

A petition has been launched calling for the removal of two monuments from the 16th century “slave trader” Sir Francis Drake in Devon.

He is praised for going around the world and defeating the Spanish Armada, but he is accused of having been a “pioneer” of the British slave trade.

Plymouth Council chief Tudor Evans said it was “to ensure that existing monuments … are accompanied by a narrative referring to their role in the slave trade”.



The scene in Oxford as protesters demand the removal of the statue of Cecil Rhodes

Cardiff Council chief Huw Thomas has pledged to support calls for the removal of a “19th century sadistic slave owner” from the town hall.

He said that the marble memorial to Sir Thomas Picton, the highest ranking officer killed in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, was an “affront” to blacks.

A statue of slave owner Robert Milligan at West India Quay in East London was removed last night by the Tower Hamlets Council.




Protesters also gathered in Middlesbrough and a demonstration organized by Stand Up To Racism was held yesterday evening in front of the statue of Nelson Mandela on Parliament Square.

Earlier, the mayor of London Sadiq Khan ordered a review of the monuments, declaring: “The diversity of our capital is our greatest strength, but our statues, names of roads and public spaces reflect a bygone era. “




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The Local Government Association Labor, a coordinating group for union-led councils, said there was “an overwhelming agreement” to work with communities to examine “the suitability of local monuments on public land and the properties of the council ”.

Interior Minister Priti Patel is said to have had a “firm” conversation with Bristol police chief Andy Marsh after officers failed to intervene while the Colston monument was demolished.

Boris Johnson told ministers today that “those in charge simply cannot ignore the depth of the emotions that have been unleashed,” said his spokesperson.

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