Watch CBS News

Protesters in England topple statue of slave trader Edward Colston into harbor

Worldwide protests held over death of George Floyd
Protests erupt all around the world over the death of George Floyd 01:57

A statue of slave trader Edward Colston was torn down and thrown into Bristol Harbor on Sunday by protesters demonstrating against racism and police brutality in England. According to the BBC, one person was seen with their knee on the statue's neck in reference to the fatal arrest of George Floyd, whose death in Minneapolis inspired protests across the globe.

The bronze statue was erected in 1895, more than 150 years after Colston's death and 88 years after Britain abolished the slave trade in 1807. Colston played a key role in the Royal African Company, a 17th century slave trader responsible for transporting around 80,000 indentured people to the Americas.

Colston's name is on buildings, memorials and even streets. One such facility, a music venue known as Colston Hall, is working on changing its name.

Authorities say they will launch an investigation into the statue's toppling. Home Secretary Priti Patel criticized the actions of protesters, telling the BBC the statue's removal was "utterly disgraceful."

Protesters in London also targeted a controversial statue, spray painting "was a racist" on the base of a statue of Winston Churchill. Also on Sunday, a statue of King Leopold II was defaced in Brussels with the word "shame," as demonstrators chanted "reparations."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.