UK crowd tears down statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston, throws it in harbor

Protesters in Bristol, England, took matters into their hands and tore down the statue of a slave trader, then threw the statue into the harbor.

The protesters joined the tens of thousands of others across the U.K. who have gathered to lend their voices to global Black Lives Matter protests.

However, the Bristol protest took things a step further with the dismantling of the Edward Colston statue.

Protesters pulling down the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, England, on Sunday. (Ben Birchall/PA via AP)

Protesters pulling down the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, England, on Sunday. (Ben Birchall/PA via AP)

Using ropes, the protesters were able to pull the bronze statue from its foundations. At least one protester posed for photos while kneeling on the statue’s neck, a reference to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, which helped spark global protests against police brutality.

Protesters throwing the statue of slave trader Edward Colston into the Bristol harbor. (Ben Birchall/PA via AP)

Protesters throwing the statue of slave trader Edward Colston into the Bristol harbor. (Ben Birchall/PA via AP)

Protesters then dragged the statue through the city streets to the harbor, where they threw the statue into the water. The empty space the statue had previously occupied became a platform for protesters to make speeches.

Colston was born in Bristol in the 17th century and made his money through merchant trading. His wealth came largely from his Royal African Company, which transported around 100,000 slaves from Africa to the Americas.

While Colston used some of his considerable wealth for philanthropic improvements to Bristol, London and elsewhere, many activists could not overlook the source of his income.

PROTESTERS TEAR DOWN ALABAMA CONFEDERATE STATUE

Petitions have circulated for years demanding the removal of the statue, with one petition gaining 11,000 signatures, according to the Guardian. The petition read, “Whilst history shouldn’t be forgotten, these people who benefited from the enslavement of individuals do not deserve the honour of a statue. This should be reserved for those who bring about positive change and who fight for peace, equality and social unity.”

In the United States, protesters in Richmond, Va., Montgomery, Ala., Nashville, Tenn., and other cities tore down statues of Confederate leaders, whom the protesters deemed icons of racism.

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees made a statement of support for the protests.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP 

“I know the removal of the Colston Statue will divide opinion, as the statue itself has done for many years,” Rees said. “However, it’s important to listen to those who found the statue to represent an affront to humanity.”

He added, “Let’s make the legacy of today about the future of our city, tackling racism and inequality.”