Bristol statue toppling: Who was Edward Colston and why did anti-racism protesters target him?

Via Euronews: Bristol statue toppling: Who was Edward Colston and why did anti-racism protesters target him?

Anti-racism protesters in the English city of Bristol tore down the controversial statue of slave trader Edward Colston on Sunday after years of wrangling over his checkered legacy.

The 5.5-metre statue was toppled from its plinth and then thrown in the River Avon towards the end of a protest attended by about 10,000 people to denounce institutional racism.

The march, like similar ones across Europe, was organised in solidarity to the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of African American George Floyd last month in Minneapolis, US.

Who was Edward Colston?

Colston was born to a wealthy merchant family in Bristol but was educated in London, where he was based for most of his working life, according to the Museum of Bristol’s website.

Edward Colston

He initially traded on his own account in Europe in woollen textiles and wine but bought shares in the Royal African Company (RAC) in 1680. Only RAC members were allowed to trade with Africa for gold, ivory and enslaved Africans.

RAC ships, which departed from Bristol, Liverpool and London, transported about 100,000 west African salves to the Caribbean and the Americas between 1672 and 1689. All of them were branded on the chest with the company’s initials.

According to the History of Parliament’s website, Colston “made the bulk of his fortune” from the slave trade”.



Minneapolis: National Guard deployed as George Floyd protests escalate

Via Euronews: Minneapolis: National Guard deployed as George Floyd protests escalate

Protests over the killing of an unarmed black man by police in the US city of Minneapolis have grown increasingly violent, with the National Guard being deployed and the president threatening to have looters shot.

George Floyd was killed on Tuesday, after having been handcuffed by police. Widely shared video of the incident shows a white police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck, with the handcuffed victim telling the police officer he cannot breath. Shortly afterwards he is shown to be motionless.

His death has sparked widespread protests in the city and surrounding areas. A police HQ in the city, a focal point of some of the protests, was set alight on Thursday night after being abandoned by the police. The National Guard said more than 500 soldiers have been deployed across the area.

Thousands of protesters have been demonstrating peacefully, calling for justice. However a number of fires have been started in buildings nearby the police HQ, and a man was shot dead on Wednesday, possibly by the owner of a pawn shop, police said.

AP Photo/John Minchillo
Protesters gather in front of the burning police HQ in Minneapolis – AP Photo/John Minchillo

Protests have also spread to other US cities. In New York City, protesters defied New York’s coronavirus prohibition on public gatherings, clashing with police, while demonstrators blocked traffic in downtown Denver. A day earlier, demonstrators had taken to the streets in Los Angeles and Memphis.