The empty pedestal where the toppled statue of Edward Colston used to stand in Bristol, southwest England had a statue of a Black Lives Matter protestor place on it on Wednesday.
The statue depicts BLM protestor Jen Reid, with her right fist raised in the black power salute. It is a replica of her actual stance on top of the pedestal straight after Colston’s statue was toppled.
The new statue was raised in the early morning without the knowledge of the Bristol City Council, which had envisioned a referendum over what would replace Colston’s statue.
Reid herself told the Guardian: “It’s just incredible. This is going to continue the conversation. I can’t see it coming down in a hurry.”
Colston’s statue was retrieved from the river, where it was dumped after being toppled, and will go on display at a local museum, along with signs from the Black Lives Matter protests.
Edward Colston worked at a slave company that transported around 84,000 African slaves – men, women, and children. He was a native of Bristol and an active philanthropist in his home city. Due to his charitable contributions, several roads, schools, and other landmarks are named after him.
In a powerful image shared on social media, black protestors were seen kneeling on the neck of the toppled statue for eight minutes – the same length of time as the US police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck killing the African American and sparking a global wave of demonstrations against police brutality and racial injustice.
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