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15 Jul, 2020 07:41

Toppled UK slave trader statue replaced with figure of BLM protester. ‘Doesn’t reflect diversity, take it down,’ Twitter users say

Toppled UK slave trader statue replaced with figure of BLM protester. ‘Doesn’t reflect diversity, take it down,’ Twitter users say

Activists in Bristol, UK have installed a statue of a Black Lives Matter protester where a monument to 17th century slave trader Edward Colston stood before it was destroyed last month. The action drew a mixed response online.

The black resin and steel figure was erected in Bristol by a small team led by artist Marc Quinn at around 5am local time, the Guardian reported. It is said they worked as quickly as possible fearing that officials could arrive to stop them.

The sculpture is a re-creation of a photo of Black Live Matter protester Jen Reid standing on an empty pedestal with her fist raised shortly after the statue of Colston was toppled last month.

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Quinn told the Guardian that the new statue was installed in such a manner that it would be “extremely difficult to move,” though it is “not a permanent artwork.”

City officials did not react to the statue as of Wednesday morning, the paper said.

The more than 100-year-old monument to Colston – a wealthy merchant and politician involved in the slave trade – was destroyed amid a wave of vandalism against statues of historical figures strongly associated by activists with slavery, racism, and colonialism.

Quinn’s project drew a mixed response on Twitter. Some welcomed the sculpture, calling it “fantastic,”“wonderful,” and “absolutely brilliant.”

The statue of Reid was praised by Angela Harrelson, the aunt of George Floyd, a black American man whose death at the hands of Minneapolis, Minnesota police sparked widespread protests in the US and other Western countries. “Powerful story!” Harrelson wrote online. “Seeing things like this, validates that my nephew death is not on vain.”

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Others, however, were not so thrilled about the monument to the protester. Commenters accused the activists of “disrespect” to the city because they did not obtain a permit for erecting the sculpture. The action was “obnoxious and undemocratic,” one person wrote.

Another Twitter warrior argued that BLM does not represent everyone in Bristol, and the statue must be taken down and replaced by something “reflecting the diversity of the people who live there.”

One person wrote that allowing the statue of Reid to stand will set “a dangerous precedent,” paving the way for “statues from both sides popping up all over the place and there to be chaos.”

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