The statue was unveiled in 1895 to honor Colston. Colston’s company, the Royal African Company, forced more than 100,000 enslaved people from West Africa to the North America in the late 1600’s. As a result of his slave trade, more than 20,000 Africans died due to dehydration, scurvy and inhumane living conditions.
The moment a statue of slave trader Edward Colston toppled into Bristol’s harbour. ‘It’s what he deserves. I’ve been waiting all my life for this moment’ someone told me in the moments after. pic.twitter.com/6juqVrsJ6V
— Sarah Turnnidge (@sarah_turnnidge) June 7, 2020
In the days leading up to Sunday’s demonstration, city officials had partially covered up the statue. Demonstrators had previously had thrown eggs and other items at the monument. Local residents had also put together a petition to remove the statue that had gained more than 10,000 signatures. Despite the city’s efforts, citizens of Bristol ultimately got their hands on the statue before rolling it down the street and into the River Avon.
Bristol’s demonstration is the latest of a movement spreading across the country. Inspired by demonstrations in the United States, crowds in London and other major cities have gathered to protest police brutality. Elsewhere in Europe, Belgium, France and Spain have all had demonstrations over the weekend.