Brit protesters topple racist statue

 

Black Lives Matter protesters have pulled down a statue of a 17th Century slave trader in Bristol.

The controversial Edward Colston monument was ripped from its plinth using rope as crowds cheered.

The protesters could then be seen jumping up and down on the toppled statue as it came crashing to the ground.

It has now been rolled into the river after being dragged towards the water by a group of jubilant protesters.

 

Protesters throw a statue of slave trader Edward Colston into Bristol harbour during a Black Lives Matter protest rally, in Bristol, England. Picture: AP
Protesters throw a statue of slave trader Edward Colston into Bristol harbour during a Black Lives Matter protest rally, in Bristol, England. Picture: AP

 

Avon and Somerset Police superintendent Andy Bennett said tonight the force is hunting a small group of people "who clearly committed an act of criminal damage" after the statue was downed.

Activists have gathered in Bristol as part of a largely peaceful worldwide Black Lives Matter protest against the death of George Floyd in the US.

The bronze figure of slave trader Colston has been in the city centre since 1895.

But it has repeatedly come under attack by protesters - with pressure mounting on authorities to remove it.

 

Protesters throw a statue of slave trader Edward Colston into the Bristol harbour. Picture: AP
Protesters throw a statue of slave trader Edward Colston into the Bristol harbour. Picture: AP

 

Protesters throw a statue of slave trader Edward Colston into the Bristol harbour. Picture: AP
Protesters throw a statue of slave trader Edward Colston into the Bristol harbour. Picture: AP

 

Yesterday, the Winston Churchill statue was vandalised during Black Lives Matter protest in London's Parliament Square as the peaceful protest turned violent.

Pictures show police officers standing in front of the memorial with neon green graffiti defacing it on the 76th anniversary of D-Day.

It appears the world-famous memorial was defaced with letters ACAB - which is believed to stand for 'All Cops Are B******s'.

Other monuments were also damaged - including statues in Parliament Square daubed with the words "racist" and "f**k Boris".

 

MINNEAPOLIS MAYOR BOOED OUT OF PROTEST

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was met with resounding jeers at the peaceful protests in Minnesota on Saturday after telling demonstrators he didn't support abolishing the Minneapolis Police Department.

His comments came hours after Rep Ilhan Omar had called the city's police force "rotten to the root" at another protest in Minneapolis.

Several videos on social media showed the heated confrontation, which happened when protesters marched to the mayor's home and called him to come out, according to CNN.

"Jacob Frey, we have a yes or no question for you: yes or no, will you commit to defunding the Minneapolis Police Department?" asked a protest leader.

 

 

The mayor appears hesitant before the woman repeats her question, to which Frey shakes his head and replies: "I do not support defunding the Minneapolis police."

The group of demonstrators immediately erupt in jeers as the woman points at Frey and says, "Get the f**k outta here!"

 

 

Frey was sworn into office in 2018 as the second-youngest mayor in Minneapolis history.

The 38-year-old was an employment and civil rights attorney before taking office, according to the city's website.

He promised to heal the broken relationship between cops and civilians, and part of his platform included introducing implicit bias training, de-escalation techniques, and officer accountability, according to Ballotpedia.

The dejected mayor resembled fallen Game of Thrones queen Cersei Lannister as he took his own walk of shame through the crowd.

"Shame! Shame!" dozens chanted as he walked through a sea of protesters who shouted at him.

In one viral video shared on Twitter, a protester appears to shout right behind Frey's back as the mayor retreated.

While Frey was taunted by protesters, Omar called for the abolition of the city's police department at a different demonstration in Minneapolis on Saturday.

"It's time to disband the Minneapolis Police Department," she declared.

"I will never cosign on funding a police department that continues to brutalize us and I will never stop saying, not only do we need to dis-invest police but we need to completely dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department."

"The Minneapolis Police Department is rotten to the root," Omar continued.

"And so when we dismantle it, we get rid of that cancer and we allow for something to rise. And that reimagining allows us to figure out what public safety looks like."

Progressive New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has also called on the defunding of police in New York City to the tune of $1 billion.

During a congressional primary debate that aired in the US on Friday night, Ocasio-Cortez said she's "actively engaged in advocacy for" a "reduction of our NYPD budget and defunding a $6 billion NYPD budget that costs us books in the hands of our children and costs us very badly needed investment in NYCHA [New York City Housing Authority] and public housing."

A Defund the Police petition has gotten celebrity support from the likes of John Legend, Chris Martin of Coldplay and Joaquin Phoenix. They are demanding police budgets be cut and money invested into education, community programs and healthcare.

"Despite continued profiling, harassment, terror and killing of Black communities, local and federal decision-makers continue to invest in the police, which leaves Black people vulnerable and our communities no safer," the petition says.

On Sunday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he would be taking funding from the NYPD to instead support local youth groups.

"The details will be worked out in the budget process in the weeks ahead. But I want people to understand that we are committed to shifting resources to ensure that the focus is on our young people," de Blasio said. "I also will affirm we will only do it in a way that is certain to continue the city will be safe."

 

President Trump has also accused presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden of wanting to defund the police after Mr Biden promised a national police oversight commission in the first days of his administration if he is elected in November.

Mr Biden has also called for police departments across the country to review their hiring policies.

"Most cops meet the highest standards of their profession. All the more reason that bad cops should be dealt with severely and swiftly. We all need to take a hard look at the culture that allows for these senseless tragedies to keep happening," Biden said during a speech last week in Philadelphia.

 

TRUMP ORDERS NATIONAL GUARD TO STAND DOWN AS TENSIONS EASE

President Donald Trump has ordered the National Guard to begin withdrawing from Washington, D.C. now that protests are "under perfect control".

Trump announced in a tweet on Sunday that soldiers "will be going home" following Saturday's anti-racism protests but warned they could return "if needed".

"I have just given an order for our National Guard to start the process of withdrawing from Washington, D.C., now that everything is under perfect control," he said.

"They will be going home, but can quickly return, if needed. Far fewer protesters showed up last night than anticipated!"

Although Saturday's demonstration in the nation's capital was the largest yet, it was mostly peaceful and no arrests were made, according to Axios.

The presence of federal law enforcement in the heart of America had caused friction between Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and Trump.

The DC mayor suggested on Sunday that Trump's decision to send in the National Guard incited more unrest and caused even more people to show up to protest over the last few days.

"What Americans saw was federal police forces tear gassing peaceful Americans. And how they responded made clear to the president that Americans would exercise their First Amendment rights and they would do it peacefully," Bowser said in an interview with ABC's This Week.

"And what he actually did, as you saw for the remaining days, was turn out more people, and more people who were there for peaceful protest."

 

Demonstrators protest near the White House in Washington, over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis. Picture: AP
Demonstrators protest near the White House in Washington, over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis. Picture: AP

 

National Guard soldiers shielded the president's residence on Saturday as tens of thousands of protesters descended upon Washington DC to march against racism.

Grassroots activists called on Americans to show solidarity 12 days after the death of George Floyd, who was killed in police custody on May 25 in Minneapolis.

Black fences between seven and nine feet high were erected around the perimeter of the White House to prevent protesters from accessing it.

Military vehicles and officers in fatigues closed off much of downtown Washington to traffic ahead of the demonstration

Thousands gathered at the Lincoln and Washington Memorials before converging at the White House.

Despite the armed guards and soldiers, the president said he was unimpressed with Saturday's turnout.

"Much smaller crowd in D.C. than anticipated," he said.

"National Guard, Secret Service, and D.C. Police have been doing a fantastic job. Thank you!"

 

NYC ENDS CURFEW

Mayor Bill de Blasio lifted the Big Apple's controversial curfew a day early in an unexpected announcement Sunday morning.

"New York City: We are lifting the curfew, effective immediately," Mr de Blasio tweeted, ending the planned final night of the city shutting down to help curb looting and violent protests that plagued the city earlier in the week.

 

 

"Yesterday and last night we saw the very best of our city. Tomorrow we take the first big step to restart," he said of Phase 1 of the four-part plan to end the coronavirus lockdown.

"Keep staying safe. Keep looking out for each other," he wrote.

The mayor had ordered the curfew last Monday alongside Gov. Andrew Cuomo, after vandals used mass demonstrations spurred by the videotaped in-custody death of George Floyd as cover to loot stores.

Protesters kneel in front of New York City Police Department officers before being arrested for violating curfew beside the iconic Plaza Hotel. Picture: AP
Protesters kneel in front of New York City Police Department officers before being arrested for violating curfew beside the iconic Plaza Hotel. Picture: AP

 

Until the announcement, the city was set to go into a final lockdown at 8pm Sunday, finally ending at 5am Monday.

It had been controversial from the get-go, with the announcement shocking lawmakers and coming just hours after NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said it would not work in the city.

De Blasio had previously refused to lift it early, even amid legal challenges claiming it violated New Yorkers' civil rights.

 

SEATTLE PROTESTS TURN UGLY

Police used flash bang devices and pepper spray to disperse a crowd of protesters in Seattle on Saturday night (local time), the ninth consecutive day of George Floyd protests in the city.

The mayhem in the city's Capitol Hill neighbourhood followed a large, peaceful demonstration earlier in the day with medical workers demonstrating against racism and police brutality.

It also came a day after Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best imposed a 30-day moratorium on the department's use of one kind of tear gas.

KING-TV reports that a small group of protesters started throwing objects at officers about 7:30pm on Saturday (12.30pm Sunday, AET).

Police ordered the crowd to move, then used incendiary devices.

After police were severely criticised by protesters and public officials alike for using tear gas and pepper spray to disperse largely peaceful crowds, Durkan and Best said Friday outside groups would review and update crowd-control policies, including the use of pepper spray and deadly force techniques such as neck and choke holds.

She and the mayor added that the ban on one kind of tear gas known as CS could be extended if groups need more time for policy review.

 

PROTESTERS TOPPLE CONFEDERATE STATUE IN VIRGINIA CAPITAL

A small group of demonstrators toppled a statue of a Confederate general in the former capital of the Confederacy late Saturday, following a day of largely peaceful protests in the Virginia city. The statue of Gen. Williams Carter Wickham was pulled from its pedestal in Monroe Park, a Richmond police spokeswoman said. She said she did not know if there were any arrests or damage done to the statue.

A rope had been tied around the Confederate statue, which has stood since 1891, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported, adding that someone urinated on the statue after it was pulled down. Photos and video from the newspaper showed the what appeared to be red paint splashed or sprayed on the statue.

In 2017, some of Wickham's descendants urged the city to remove the statue. Confederate monuments are a major flashpoint in Virginia and elsewhere in the South. Confederate memorials began coming down after a white supremacist killed nine black people at a Bible study in a church in South Carolina in 2015 and then again after the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.

 

The statue of Confederate Gen. Williams Carter Wickham lies on the ground after protesters pulled it down. Picture: AP
The statue of Confederate Gen. Williams Carter Wickham lies on the ground after protesters pulled it down. Picture: AP

 

Last week, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that a state-owned statue of former Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee would be removed from its perch on the famed Monument Avenue "as soon as possible."

The Lee statue is one of five Confederate monuments along Monument Avenue, a prestigious residential street and National Historic Landmark district. Monuments along the avenue have been rallying points during protests in recent days over Floyd's death, and they have been tagged with graffiti, including messages that say "End police brutality" and "Stop white supremacy."

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney last week announced plans to seek the removal of the other Confederate monuments along Monument Avenue, which include statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Confederate Gens. Stonewall Jackson and J.E.B. Stuart. Those statues sit on city land, unlike the Lee statue, which is on state property.

 

Huge crowds are marching in Philadelphia over the death of George Floyd. Picture: AP
Huge crowds are marching in Philadelphia over the death of George Floyd. Picture: AP

 

Stoney said he would introduce an ordinance July 1 to have the statues removed. That's when a new law goes into effect, which was signed earlier this year by Northam, that undoes an existing state law protecting Confederate monuments and instead lets local governments decide their fate.

Wickham's statue stood in Monroe Park, about a mile away from the Lee statue and surrounded by the Virginia Commonwealth University campus.

 

 

'SELFISH', 'IRRESPONSIBLE': CORMANN SLAMS AUSTRALIAN PROTESTERS

Senior federal government Minister Mathias Cormann is standing by his comments that people who attended Saturday's Black Lives Matter rallies in Australia were being "reckless" and "irresponsible" at a time of a pandemic.

Twenty thousand people marched in Sydney and crowds rallied in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and some regional cities and towns on Saturday despite public health warnings.

The Australian protests in solidarity with African-American George Floyd who died while being arrested in Minneapolis, also a showed support for the Aboriginal community to highlight high levels of indigenous incarceration and deaths in custody.

But Senator Cormann, the federal finance minister, thought the protesters were "quite irresponsible".

"I think it is incredibly selfish, it is incredibly self-indulgent, and yes it does impose unnecessary and unacceptable risks on to the community," Senator Cormann told Sky News' Sunday Agenda Program.

Protesters attending the Black Lives Matter events across Australia on Saturday were “selfish” and “self-indulgent” according to Finance Minister Mathias Cormann. Picture: AAP
Protesters attending the Black Lives Matter events across Australia on Saturday were “selfish” and “self-indulgent” according to Finance Minister Mathias Cormann. Picture: AAP

Labor's indigenous Australians spokeswoman Linda Burney described Senator Cormann's comments as "tone deaf" and "politically expedient".

"Mathias Cormann should know better than to describe these protests yesterday, this cry from the heart of many thousands of people across the world and in Australia, as self-indulgent and reckless," she told reporters in Sydney.

While Deputy Opposition Leader Richard Marles was "uncomfortable" about people turning up for these marches, he said he understood why they did it.

"I don't feel like I'm in a position to say to indigenous Australians … that this is a selfish and indulgent act," he told ABC TV's Insiders program.

"I'm not about to engage in that kind of judgment of those who did it." Senator Cormann later told reporters in Perth while people had the right to protest over legitimate issues, the country was in a pandemic environment.

"Many, many Australians have lost their jobs as we impose restrictions on the economy in order to save lives, to suppress the spread of the virus, people have been unable to attend funerals of their loved ones to help stop the spread of the virus," Senator Cormann said.

"But we are going to have a mass gathering of tens of thousands of people in complete breach of the rules that apply to everyone else, it is absolutely reckless and irresponsible and it shouldn't be happening."

 

POLICE HORSE BOLTS IN CHAOTIC PROTEST

Violent clashes have erupted at the Black Lives Matter protests in London with a demonstrator hurling a bike at a police horse on Whitehall.

The horse bolted down Whitehall and the female officer riding it slammed into a traffic light and fell from her saddle injured and seemingly unconscious. The horse continued galloping down Whitehall where it collided with a woman protester before being brought under control.

The police officer is now in hospital receiving treatment. Picture: AP
The police officer is now in hospital receiving treatment. Picture: AP

The Metropolitan Police said: "The officer is currently in hospital, receiving treatment for her injuries which are not life-threatening. The officer fell from her horse, and we are examining the full circumstances of what took place." They added that 14 arrests were made today and 10 officers were injured.

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Brit protesters topple racist statue

Demonstrators protest social injustice by the police at the Philadelphia Museum of Art along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Picture: AP
Demonstrators protest social injustice by the police at the Philadelphia Museum of Art along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Picture: AP

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