Protesters in Bristol, southwest England, used ropes to smash the monument of Edward Colston, a local merchant who traded most of his wealth from the slave trade in the late 1600s. His statue has been in the city since 1895, but his presence in the multicultural city has become increasingly controversial.
The crowds cheered and kneeled before pushing the port of Bristol over the statue and throwing it into the water after it overturned.
Many celebrated the action, and the video of the fallen sculpture became viral in England. However, some of the leading figures of the Boris Johnson government also condemned the protesters.
“We live in a country where others think they have lost their history and identity, and I think it’s a mistake,” Bristol mayor Marvin Rees told the BBC on Monday. “But a lot of people think that the Colston statue represents the Bristol feeling, so now we have to make a speech as a city.”
British Interior Minister Priti Patel was less compliant, telling Sky News that the demolition of the statue was “totally embarrassing”.
The police in the city said that the investigation is continuing and the officers were collecting images of the incident. However, Superintendent Andy Bennett said to the BBC, “I understand why he was” disappointed “from the action. He added that the officers decided to stop overturning and take tactics to allow him to fall over rather than risk of unrest.
Colonial figures and slave traders commemorations are common in England. In Bristol, various streets, schools and pubs are named after Colston, an important figure in the city’s history but whose legacy was questioned by the new generation of Bristolians.
Large crowds in London protests
Bristol protests were far from the only demonstrations on Sunday.
In the capital of England, activists and police clashed near Downing Street, while peaceful protests warmed heavily on Sunday evenings. It was seen that the officers pushed and used the batons and even punched and grabbed the protesters when they approached the police line.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson later claimed that the demonstrations were “turned upside down by theft” and said he would announce those responsible.
Some opposed coronavirus deadlocks and warnings from politicians. While many protesters wore masks during weekend rallies, some carried messages that racial inequality was also a public health crisis.
But they also drew attention to racist injustice in their own nation.
In London, thousands of people gathered outside the US Embassy on Sunday, telling British ministers that public demonstrations are at risk of increasing the spread of Covid-19.
Rumors of “No Justice, No Peace” and “Black Life Issue” skipped the building in the city’s Vauxhall district with a pleasant atmosphere all day long.
A protester called out to the crowd: “Together we will let our voices be heard. Enough is Enough. Black people cannot continue to suffer.”
“England is not innocent,” cried the activists from time to time. Others gave a message to the President of the USA: “The black lives overshadow your ego, Mr. President.”
The day before, protesters had descended to Parliament Square in the center of the city. The protests were peaceful for several hours, but they were heated in the evening when the police and the crowd faced outside Downing Street.
In one incident, the video posted online showed that the police officer suddenly bolted and caused the officer to hit the street light and fall to the ground. The loose horse then caused panic as it passed through groups of protesters before returning to the police stables.
“I am with you. The brutal killing of George Floyd must lead to immediate and permanent change everywhere,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a message to protesters on Sunday, reminding them that they are violent and are trying to limit physical interactions.
Many of Boris Johnson government ministers previously urged the protesters to avoid gathering due to public health, Interior Minister Priti Patel said on Saturday: “I can say for those who want to protest, please don’t.”
Europe’s streets are full after months of crash
The messages of these protesters were repeated by thousands of people all over the world.
In Spain, protesters were allowed to meet outside the US Embassy, but after opposing orders from the government, protesters marched into Puerta del Sol, one of the city’s most known and busiest places.
It was seen that the demonstrators were holding their posters and saying phrases like “Donald Trump is a criminal”.
According to figures published by the government’s delegation in Madrid, nearly 2,000 protesters were present; organizers say 4,000 people attended.
CNAAEB spokesperson Lisa Okpala, an anti-racist platform in Spain, told CNN that the purpose of the demonstration was to support the “Black Lives Issue” movement in the US and “condemn and demonstrate against structural and institutional racism”. ” in the country.
“Not only did we feel sorry, because, as I said, racism is also a problem here, but we also felt the anger that people in the United States feel, especially in black communities. That is, anger with sadness,” Okpala said.
A few weeks ago, thousands more gathered in Rome’s Piazza del Popolo, the empty square, the decisive image of Italy’s devastating coronavirus outbreak.
The activists there quietly took one knee for eight minutes with a symbolic tribute to Floyd, who died after police officer Derek Chauvin stepped on his neck for 8 minutes 46 seconds.
During the demonstration, protesters addressed representatives of the Italian immigrant community and American immigrants; The names of all those killed in the USA due to police brutality were listed and commemorated by the crowd.
While the big meeting made it difficult for protesters to comply with the government’s social withdrawal guidelines, it was seen that those shown in the square were trying to leave a meter between them; many of them wore masks and face coverings.
Meanwhile, the streets in Warsaw were outside the American embassy. The crowd the previous day passed through Paris and other French cities such as Lille, Marseille and Nice.
Court allows Sydney protests to continue
Hours ago, cities in Australia were similarly active.
A court in the country broke a precautionary ban on a march in Sydney on Saturday and allowed thousands to gather in the city.
Demonstrations by Aboriginal protesters took place, and the demonstrators organized posters calling for an end to death in police custody in both the U.S. and Australia.
New South Wales state officials tried to ban the protest because of concerns about social withdrawal and took precautionary measures on Friday night. The New South Wales Court of Appeal overturned in time for the actions to take place.
Another rally was held in Brisbane and Melbourne.
In Hong Kong, small crowds gathered outside the Consulate General of the United States. And in Seoul, South Korea, activists with face masks held signatures on Saturday to commemorate Floyd’s death.
CNN’s Laura Perez Maestro, Al Goodman, Duarte Mendonca, Ben Wedeman and Alessandro Gentile contributed to the reports.