As all 50 states and D.C. band together to protest the horrific police-involved killing of George Floyd, many across the globe have joined in as well to declare Black Lives Matter. And, at one particular protest in Bristol, England, over the weekend, protesters ripped down a statue of an infamous slave trader and unceremoniously chucked it into the Bristol Harbor.
According to the BBC, the protests occurred on Sunday and saw the removal of the statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston—which has been the center of controversy in Bristol for years.
During one powerful moment, a protester was witnessed with his knee on the statue’s neck.
Colston, the BBC notes, was a member of the Royal African Company, which was responsible for the transportation of more than 80,000 enslaved men, women and children from Africa to the Americas.
Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees, a Black man, said that he felt no “sense of loss” after the bronze statue was removed by protesters.
“I think circumstances came to a head and people felt the need to take the statue down,” Rees told the BBC. “I can’t and won’t pretend the statue of a slave trader in a city I was born and grew up in wasn’t an affront to me and people like me.”
However, the mayor did signal that the statue will eventually be retrieved from the bottom of the harbor and probably relocated to a city museum.
While police officers were at the protest, a “tactical decision” was made not to intervene as the protesters pulled the statue down and tossed it.
Of course, not everyone shared the sentiments of the protesters. Mark Weston, the leader of the conservative group on the Bristol City Council, slammed the protesters behind the removal of the statue and said that the “perpetrators should be prosecuted for a wanton act of criminal damage.”
“I do not believe that anyone has the right to deface or destroy public property, no matter how warranted they believe their actions or motivation to be,” he said.