Months after toppling a statue in Bristol, England, four people have been charged for the act.
In June this year, the statue of 18th-century slave trader Edward Colston was toppled in Bristol by Black Lives Matter protestors. Though no arrests were made at the time, four people are now charged for the act: Rhian Graham, Milo Ponsford, Jake Skuse, and Sage Willoughby. The charges are made by the Crown Prosecution Services and the accused would stand before a trial in January next year. The toppling occurred after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA, which started a global Black Lives Matter movement.
The location in Bristol witnessed high-voltage events in summer this year. After the statue was toppled, it was replaced by another one: that of BLM protester Jen Reid. The statue was made by artist Marc Quinn, to symbolize the BLM movement. However, it lasted merely 24 hours before it was removed by the city officials.
There is a good reason why the statue was the target of BLM protestors. Edward Colston was a key officer in the Royal African Company during the 18th century. The company was one of the most prominent British slave-trading companies in the 17th century. The harbour where the statue was thrown had an equally controversial history; it was where many African slaves were thrown from trading ships. Over the years, many artists and activists had raised concern over the ‘problematic’ statue of the slave trader. The Crown Prosecution Services, meanwhile, have asked everyone to refrain from sharing any content online that might affect the pending trial.