Toppled slave trader statue lifted out of Bristol harbour

The statue of slave trader Edward Colston that was toppled during an anti-racism demonstration has been lifted out of the city’s harbour after being rolled into the water by protesters.

Bristol City Council posted a video clip on Twitter of the statue being fished out of the water on Thursday morning.

It tweeted: “Early this morning we retrieved the statue of Colston from Bristol Harbour.

“It is being taken to a secure location before later forming part of our museums collection.”

Bristol’s mayor Marvin Rees had previously confirmed the statue would be exhibited in a museum, alongside placards from the Black Lives Matter protest.

A decision on how the statue’s empty plinth will be used will be decided through democratic consultation, he said.

The statue was pulled down on Sunday amid worldwide protests triggered by the death of George Floyd.

Mr Floyd died after a white police officer held him down by pressing his knee into his neck for almost nine minutes in Minneapolis on May 25.

The statue’s retrieval comes after a senior Labour MP said its forced removal was the result of years of frustration with the democratic process.

Black Lives Matter protests
The empty plinth where the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol once stood (Ben Birchall/PA)

Speaking on ITV’s Peston on Wednesday, shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said people decided to take action over the memorial because they felt their voices on racial issues were not being heard.

She said: “Why was that statue removed in the way that it was removed?

“Because for 20 years, protesters and campaigners had used every democratic lever at their disposal, petitions, meetings, protests, trying to get elected politicians to act, and they couldn’t reach a consensus and they couldn’t get anything done.

“Now this is reflective of what has happened to people of colour in this country and across the world for a very long time. We’ve had seven reviews into racial discrimination in this country in the last three years alone, and very few of those recommendations have been acted on.

“That is why people are so frustrated, and that’s the question we should be asking ourselves, is why is it so difficult for so many people to actually be heard and to pull the democratic leaders to get the democratic change that they need?”

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