London eyes removal of racists’ monuments | Inquirer News

London eyes removal of racists’ monuments

/ 05:28 AM June 11, 2020

Protesters rally at Oriel College of the University of Oxford

RHODES MUST FALL Protesters rally at Oriel College of the University of Oxford to demand that the statue of Victorian imperialist Cecil Rhodes be removed. —AP

LONDON—London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced on Tuesday that more statues of imperialist figures could be removed after protesters knocked down the monument to a slave trader as anti-racism demonstrations continued around the world after the death of George Floyd in the United States.

Khan said he would set up a commission to ensure the British capital’s monuments reflected its diversity and review statues, murals, street art, street names and other memorials and consider which legacies should be celebrated.


“It is an uncomfortable truth that our nation and city owes a large part of its wealth to its role in the slave trade and while this is reflected in our public realm, the contribution of many of our communities to life in our capital has been willfully ignored,” Khan said.


Even before the new commission got underway, officials in east London removed a statue of 18th-century merchant and slave owner Robert Milligan from its place in the city’s docklands.

Joe Biggs, mayor of London’s Tower Hamlets borough, said that following the toppling of a statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston by demonstrators in the city of Bristol on Sunday, “we’ve acted quickly to both ensure public safety and respond to the concerns of our residents, which I share.”

The toppling of the Colston statue revived calls for Oxford University to remove a statue of Cecil Rhodes, a Victorian imperialist who believed that the Anglo-Saxons’ was “the first race in the world” and that “the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race.”

Rhodes, who enrolled for one term in Oxford University’s Oriel College, also believed that black people should be driven off their land to “stimulate them to labor,” change their habits and instill in their minds that they should spend their lives in manual labor.

On Tuesday, several hundred supporters of the Rhodes Must Fall group gathered near the statue at Oriel College, chanting “Take it down” before holding a silent sit-down vigil in the street to memorialize Floyd.

Oxford city officials urged the college to apply for permission to remove the statue so that it could be placed in a museum.

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TAGS: George Floyd, Sadiq Khan

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