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12 Jun, 2020 15:14

Western Australian govt to rename King Leopold Ranges, named after ‘evil tyrant’ Belgian monarch

Western Australian govt to rename King Leopold Ranges, named after ‘evil tyrant’ Belgian monarch

The local government in Western Australia is seeking to rename the King Leopold Ranges, an area of nearly 400,000 hectares of sandstone mountains named after the 19th century Belgian king blamed for Congo genocide.

Lands Minister Ben Wyatt announced the intention to rename the range to the Miluwindi Conservation Park, which better reflects the local culture and history and not the legacy of “evil tyrant” King Leopold II of Belgium. 

Leopold, who ruled from 1865 to 1909, was widely blamed for the genocide of around 10 million people in the Congo during his brutal rule during which slaves were forced to extract rubber and ivory for the Belgian empire. 

“It highlights the absurdity that we still have something named after someone who the Belgians do not have any kind sentiment to themselves,” Wyatt said.

Also on rt.com Statue of colonial-era King Leopold II REMOVED in Belgium amid Black Lives Matter protests

“He was a nasty piece of work and we have this odd historical artefact still with us about why it is named after him.”

The ranges, named by the explorer Alexander Forrest in the late 1800s after a member of European royalty who never once visited Australia, reach over 3,200 feet in height.

The decision comes on the wave of anti-racist and anti-colonial protests worldwide, sparked by the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody and the subsequent Black Lives Matter activism in response to the killing. The statues of the king were vandalized and defaced across Belgium during demonstrations.

“The Germans would not get it into their head to erect statues of Hitler and cheer them,” said Mireille-Tsheusi Robert, an activist in Congo who welcomed the decision by the Western Australian government to rename the ranges. 

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