The statue of Edward Colston was toppled in a Black Lives Matter protest and tossed into a river in Bristol. He had been a merchant who amongst many other activities was involved in the Royal African Company which traded in slaves. It had been founded at the instigation of King Charles II in the 1600’s.
The slave trade was outlawed in 1807 in Britain and slaves were emancipated by in 1833.
Colston also supported and endowed schools, houses for the poor, almshouses, hospitals and Anglican churches in Bristol, London and elsewhere. He died at age 84 in 1721. A statue was erected in his honour.
A jury recently found 4 people clearly identified as perpetrators to be not guilty – they argued that the presence of the statue was a hate crime and it was therefore not an offence to remove it.
Perhaps statues of King Charles II should also be tossed? Perhaps it’s time to give the Queen and Royalty the heave-ho ? After all, their ancestor founded the Royal African Company.
If society does not allow the discussion of ideas and issues, people descend to shouting. Shouting is offensive and leads to confrontation. Those people who deny platforms to those who express opposing opinions and topple statues rely on the civilised reticence of the majority who will withdraw and avoid confrontation.
We have seen how demonstrators attack the police, deface buildings and defy regulations.
How far should they be allowed to go? What is peaceful demonstration?
Not so long ago – in my lifetime, unruly demonstrators were orderered to disperse. If they defied these orders, shots were fired over their heads, if they persisted, ringleaders were shot by marksmen. That always did the trick.
Can’t say I fault the process.