Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 8 July 2020

Top 10 colonial landmarks in the sights of Europe's BLM protesters

London Mayor Sadiq Khan says he will take down statues with links to slave trade

Governments and officials are taking steps to remove remnants of European colonial history after Black Lives Matter protesters in the British city of Bristol threw the statue of slave trader Edward Colson into the river at the weekend.

On Tuesday, the statue of slave trader Robert Milligan was removed by officials from West India Quay in East London.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who backed the removal, earlier announced a review of all of London's statues and street names, saying any with links to slavery "should be taken down".

Belgium has also taken some initial steps of removing statues of slave traders, and other countries are on the brink of doing so.

Here are other statues of European colonial figures that may end up being removed in the name of Black Lives Matter:

King Leopold II, Brussels, Belgium

The King Leopold II of Belgium statue is pictured during an anti-racism protest, in Brussels, on June 7, 2020 AFP
The King Leopold II of Belgium statue is pictured during an anti-racism protest, in Brussels, on June 7, 2020 AFP

After removing the Belgian king's statue in Antwerp, protesters are moving on to all monuments to the country’s 19th century monarch.

Leopold established his own colony in the Congo with the support of western powers and ran the Congo Free State as a personal fiefdom, committing widespread atrocities.

Cecil Rhodes, Oxford, UK

The campaign to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes in Oxford took its cues from the Rhodes Must Fall movement that protested for the removal of his statue at the University of Cape Town.

Rhodes was an arch-imperialist and white supremacist who lent his name to the southern African territory of Rhodesia, which he founded in modern day Zimbabwe.

Christopher Columbus, Barcelona, Spain

Campaigners in the Spanish City of Barcelona have lobbied for the removal of Christopher Columbus’s statue after successfully removing a monument to slave trader Antonio Lopez in 2018.

Columbus is credited with discovering the new world but the cycle of violence he began with the genocide of native American peoples continued for centuries.

Jan Pieterszoon Coen, Hoorn, the Netherlands

Since 2011, local activists have petitioned for the removal of a statue to early Dutch colonialist Jan Pieterszoon Coen in his home town of Hoorn.

Coen was the governor general of the Dutch East India Company and instrumental in establishing Dutch colonial enterprise in South-East Asia.

In the 17th century he carried out a genocide against native people in the Indonesian Banda Islands.

Winston Churchill, London, UK

Police stand around the Winston Churchill statue ahead of a rally at the Nelson Mandela statue in the square, to commemorate George Floyd, on the day of his funeral, in Parliament Square, London, Tuesday June 9, 2020 AP
Police stand around the Winston Churchill statue ahead of a rally at the Nelson Mandela statue in the square, to commemorate George Floyd, on the day of his funeral, in Parliament Square, London, Tuesday June 9, 2020 AP

Wartime prime minister Winston Churchill is considered by many Britons as the country’s greatest hero. Churchill is best known for leading the UK against Nazi Germany.

But detractors talk of his racist attitudes towards Africans and Native Americans, and blame his policies for the 1943 famine in Bengal in which three million died.

The African Quarter, Berlin, Germany

Berlin’s African Quarter is filled with street names recalling Germany’s imperial past.

Attempts by campaigners in the German capital have sought to replace the names of colonial-era leaders with the names of those who resisted them in Africa.

But they have been repeatedly blocked by local residents and businessmen.

Rodolfo Graziani, Affile, Italy

Graziani, an ardent fascist, was a pivotal figure in Italy’s annexation of Libya and Ethiopia in the 1930s.

His brutal crackdown against rebels in eastern Libya earned him the nickname the “Butcher of Fezzan”.

Graziani's mausoleum was publicly condemned when it was built in Italy in 2012 and the local official responsible eventually received a jail sentence for erecting it.

But the monument still stands.

Colonial street names, Paris, France

Like most European capitals, Paris has many streets named after imperial heroes.

Campaigners in France have listed the names of 200 places memorialising French conquests, empire builders or slave traders.

They include Thomas Robert Bugeaud, France’s first governor-general of Algeria, who demolished villages and slaughtered resistance fighters during his subjugation of the country in the 19th century.

Henry Dundas, Edinburgh, UK

The Melville Monument in Edinburgh, which is 45 metres tall, memorialises First Viscount Melville, Henry Dundas, a former British home secretary who is best known for delaying the abolition of slavery in the 18th Century.

Hundreds of campaigners have signed a petition calling for the removal of the statue, which they say glorifies slavery.

John Cass, London

A statue of Sir John Cass is seen outside the Sir John Cass Foundation building in London Getty Images  
A statue of Sir John Cass is seen outside the Sir John Cass Foundation building in London Getty Images  

Sir John Cass’s statue stands outside the Sir John Cass Foundation building and the British capital’s Guildhall.

As well as founding an educational charity, the 17th century member of parliament and merchant was one of the major British figures in the early development of the slave trade and the Atlantic slave economy.

Cass directly dealt with slave agents in the African forts and in the Caribbean.

Updated: June 11, 2020 03:45 PM

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