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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Black lives do matter

We can likewise take comfort at the acquittal of the four Bristol protesters charged with “criminal damage” after the statue of a prominent local slave-dealer was toppled and dumped into the harbour last summer.

The campaign to remove the statue of Edward Colston, a merchant who made a fortune out of the slave trade in the 17th Century, began in the 1920s. He was involved in the transportation of over 80,000 slaves from Africa to the New World, of which almost 10,000 were children. An estimated 19,000 died on ships bound for the Caribbean and the Americas.

Colston spent part of his blood-money on alms houses, hospitals and schools, and in Victorian days he was held up as benefactor and a pillar of the Anglican church. In Bristol streets, buildings and even a local bun were named after him. But times have changed, and it all came to a head last year during the Black Lives Matter protests that followed the killing of George Floyd in America last year.

The “Colston Four” admitted they were part of the huge crowd involved in the toppling of the statue but denied their actions were criminal, claiming the statue itself had been a hate crime against the people of Bristol. They wisely opted for jury trial and thankfully this was accepted by the jury at the Bristol Crown Court this week. Or as one of the Four put it: “One thing we know now is that Colston does not represent Bristol!”