Man Arrested Over the Toppling of Slaver Statue in Bristol

The news comes as various British institutions seek to distance themselves from the Black Lives Matter movement.
July 2, 2020, 11:42am
colston statue bristol

A 24-year-old man has been arrested after a statue of 17th century slaver Edward Colston was toppled during a Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol in early June.

After releasing 15 images of people they wanted to speak to based on video of the incident, Avon and Somerset Police confirmed that "Person K" had been arrested and that another suspect, "Person B", had "voluntarily attended a police station for [an] interview" in June.

In an appeal, Detective Superintendent Liz Hughes said: "The incident attracted worldwide attention, and there's no denying it has polarised public opinion, but in the eyes of the law a crime has been committed and we're duty-bound to investigate this without fear or favour."

After being pulled down, the Colston statue was dragged to Bristol Harbour and dropped in the water; it has since been retrieved and will be displayed in a museum, along with placards from Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

The news comes as a number of British institutions seek to distance themselves from the Black Lives Matter movement.

Today, the Telegraph revealed that BBC bosses have banned "visual symbols of support" for BLM onscreen, including guests and presenters wearing badges or pins.

"The BBC cannot be seen to support any kind of cause over another, and Black Lives Matter is certainly a campaign," a BBC source told the paper. "Our presenters and guests can discuss Black Lives Matter, and we've reported on it in depth. We're not impartial about racism. But wearing badges on screen – just as with any other campaign – would be a step too far."

A number of social media users have responded by pointing out that the BBC does not ban the wearing of a poppy, the symbol of a campaign run every year by the Royal British Legion.

The Telegraph also reports that Tottenham Hotspur has become the first football club to rescind its support for Black Lives Matter UK, after a tweet was sent from the @ukblm Twitter account stating that British politics has been "gagged of the right to critique Zionism". This was in reference to Israel's continued annexation of the West Bank, which has been called "illegal" by the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Tottenham's executive director, Donna-Maria Cullen, wrote to a fan – who was concerned about the tweet – that, "It is unacceptable that a value-based action is being hijacked by those with their own political agenda." Critics of Cullen's position responded on social media, saying the movement is inherently political and, since its foundation, has championed the rights of persecuted people.

Finally, on Wednesday, the British Army announced that it has banned soldiers from taking the knee to show support for Black Lives Matter, dubbing the gesture "too political". A Ministry of Defence source told Metro that the organisation "does not tolerate racism and promotes diversity and equality", adding that they are trying to develop a method for soldiers to show their respect "in an appropriate situation".