Edward Colston statue pulled out of Bristol Harbour

  • Published
Media caption,

Edward Colston's statue was removed early in the morning

A statue of a slave trader that was thrown into a harbour by anti-racism protestors has been retrieved from the water.

Black Lives Matter demonstrators tore down the statue of Edward Colston during a protest in Bristol on Sunday.

Bristol City Council said it needed to be removed from the water because the city had a "working harbour".

The statue will be taken to a secure location to be hosed down before becoming a museum exhibit.

It was fished out at about 05:00 BST because the council "didn't want anybody to get hurt if there was a crowd there or anyone looking".

"We've had a diver down there who attached the ropes to crane it out of the water and take it away," Ray Barnett, head of collections and archives at Bristol City Council, said.

"The ropes that were tied around him, the spray paint added to him, is still there so we'll keep him like that."

Mr Barnett said the statue would be hosed down to remove the mud and ensure "we preserve him as he was tipped into the dock, while the decision is made how to move on for there".

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
The statue of Edward Colston was pushed into the harbour after being toppled by protesters

Avon and Somerset Police elected not to intervene when the statue was toppled, saying officers would have faced a violent confrontation.

The monument has been a controversial fixture in the city, with repeated calls for it to be removed.

Previously, Bristol's Mayor Marvin Rees said he "felt no sense of loss" at its removal.

Olivette Otele, professor of the History of Slavery at the University of Bristol, said she hoped the statue would "be studied and analysed and people will learn about this because it's still part of Bristol's history".

"All these continents, Europe, America, Africa, Asia, these are intertwined histories. It's completely intertwined and mashed together and you can't really separate them," she said.

Other organisations, including schools, that use the Colston name are now looking at changing their names following the protest.

Media caption,

What do we do with the UK's symbols of slavery?

Since the statue of Colston was toppled, calls have been made to remove others around the UK.

The statue of noted slaveholder Robert Milligan was removed from its place outside the Museum of London Docklands on Tuesday.

The University of Liverpool has agreed to rename a building named after former prime minister William Gladstone due to his links to the slave trade.

Campaigners also want the statue of imperialist Cecil Rhodes at Oriel College at Oxford taken down, saying the university had "failed to address its institutional racism".

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