Man arrested for toppling statue of Edward Colston in Bristol during Black Lives Matter protests

Man arrested for toppling statue of Edward Colston in Bristol during Black Lives Matter protests

A MAN has been arrested in connection with the vandalism of the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol last month.

The statue was pulled down during a Black Lives Matter (BLM) protest on June 7 and was later thrown into Bristol harbour.

Footage quickly appeared online of a number of protesters tying rope around the memorial - which was first erected in 1895 - before pulling it to the ground and dumping it into the water.

No arrests were made at the time, but local police subsequently released photographs of individuals they wished to speak to about the incident.

Now a 24-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and is under investigation.

Demonstrators took issue with the former MP's links to the transatlantic slave trade and reasoned that Colston, despite whatever good he had done for the city of Bristol, was not a man worth celebrating.

The statue has since been retrieved by the council and has been placed in a museum.

Detective Superintendent Liz Hughes told the press last month: "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.

"I'd like to reassure people we're carrying out a thorough, fair and proportionate investigation and have sought early investigative advice from the Crown Prosecution Service."

The incident sparked significant debate about the presence of a number of statues around the world which celebrate figures with links to the slave trade and other views which could be viewed as 'problematic' in the 21st-century.

Over the next few days and weeks, statues were subject to mass scrutiny and ire from BLM protesters around the world, including ones of Winston Churchill, Oliver Cromwell and Abraham Lincoln.

Debate continues to rage over whether reconsideration is needed about which figures of history we choose to celebrate or whether the toppling and vandalism of statues is an nonsensical overreaction to the complex and layered modern-day issue of racism.