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Bristol takes down statue of BLM protester

July 16, 2020

The city of Bristol has taken down a statue of a Black Lives Matter protester a day after it was installed in secret. The mayor said the people of Bristol will decide how to replace a torn-down statue of a slave trader.

UK A Surge of Power Statue Bristol
Image: picture-alliance/empics/B. Birchall

Officials in the city of Bristol in the UK on Thursday removed a statue of a Black Lives Matter protester that had been erected the day before on a plinth once occupied by a monument to a 17th-century slave trader.

The likeness of Jen Reid — a protester photographed standing on the plinth after demonstrators pulled down the statue of Edward Colston and dumped it in Bristol's harbor on June 7 — was erected early Wednesday without the approval from the city located 120 miles (195 kilometers) southwest of London.

Artist Marc Quinn created the resin and steel statue. 

Bristol's city council said the sculpture "will be held at our museum for the artist to collect or donate to our collection."

Slaver statue toppled in anti-racism movement

Colston built his fortune transporting enslaved Africans to the Americas on ships from Bristol. He used his money to fund schools and charities in the city.

A statue depicting him was toppled as part of what became a worldwide Black Lives Matter movement against racism and slavery sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in the US city of Minneapolis earlier this year.

Bristol officials later pulled the Colston statue from the harbor and said it will be placed in a museum alongside placards from the Black Lives Matter demonstration.

Black Lives Matter protesters topple a statue of Edward Colston in Bristol, UK
Image: picture-alliance/NurPhoto/G. Spadafora

Fate of monument rests with people of Bristol

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said the decision about what will be put up instead must be made by the people of Bristol.

"This is not about taking down a statue of Jen, who is a very impressive woman,'' Rees told the BBC. "This is about taking down a statue of a London-based artist who came and put it up without permission.''

kp/sms (AFP, AP)