According to one report, a long controversial statue of former Belgian King Leopold II was downloaded after being set on fire during a global unrest due to George Floyd’s police custody last week.
Protesters in Antwerp have long criticized the 150-year-old statue as a symbol of the country’s violent colonial past. II. Leopold conquered Congo at the end of the 19th century and ruled a brutal regime, looting the land for personal gain and left an estimated 10 million dead. Brussels Times reported.
To try to address the anger on the monument, in 2018, Antwerp added a sign to contextualize Belgium’s colonial rule.
However, officials said the statue was completely removed Tuesday morning after “extensive damage” was sustained during the fire and will be transferred to Antwerp’s Middelheim Museum for restoration.
“The statue has been destroyed and will be removed from the Middelheim Museum’s sculpture collection and will be temporarily involved,” said Antwerp Mayor Bart De Wever spokesperson Johan Vermant, Brussels.
Officials said they had no idea when the restoration would be completed, but it meant that the redesign of the public space that it once stood would likely not return.
“Since the square where the statue is located will be redesigned in 2023 and there will be no room for it later, Vermant will probably remain part of the museum’s collection.” Said.
Brussels Times said the statue was one of several officials dedicated to Leopold II in Belgium.
It has also been among controversial sculptures around the world, including in the US, in response to civil unrest recently about racism and police brutality.
In the U.S., protesters successfully lobbyed for the removal of a controversial ex-Mayor Frank Rizzo’s statue in Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, the demonstrators in the south targeted a series of confederate monuments. Virginia wants to remove the sculpture of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Richmond, which has been heavily destroyed during the recent protests.
Protesters in Virginia’s capital, Gen. They have already managed to overthrow another confederation statue of Williams Carter Wickham.
And in England, protesters downloaded the bronze statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston on Sunday and threw it into the port of Bristol.
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