Laura Sharman 10 June 2020

Councils pledge to review statues in wake of Black Lives Matter protests

Several councils have promised to review statues, street names and plaques following this week's Black Lives Matter protests.

Earlier this week a statue of slave trader Edward Colston was pulled down in Bristol during an anti-racism protest.

Manchester City Council said it would conduct a full review of the city's statues to ensure their history and context is fully understood.

Cllr Luthfur Rahman, the council's executive member for skills, culture, and leisure said: 'Through this process it's important that we do not shy away from the darker moments in our country's history and the difficult conversations attached to them. We hope this will provide an opportunity for education and debate around those who have been memorialised.'

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has also announced a review of London's public realm to ensure landmarks reflect the capital's diversity.

Mayor Khan said: 'It is an uncomfortable truth that our nation and city owes a large part of its wealth to its role in the slave trade and while this is reflected in our public realm, the contribution of many of our communities to life in our capital has been wilfully ignored.

'This cannot continue. We must ensure that we celebrate the achievements and diversity of all in our city, and that we commemorate those who have made London what it is – that includes questioning which legacies are being celebrated.'

The leader of Oxford City Council, cllr Susan Brown, has issued a statement supporting the removal of the Cecil Rhodes statue.

She said: 'I have today written to Oriel College to invite them to apply for planning permission to remove the statue, as it is a Grade II* listed building. Typically such actions are only allowed in the most exceptional of circumstances. But these are exceptional circumstances, and as a city council we are keen to work with Oriel to help them find the right balance between the laws that protect our historic buildings and the moral obligation to reflect on the malign symbolism of this statue.'

The Government has been warned that community tensions could erupt further as the concerns of Black Lives Matters protesters are fuelled by emerging coronavirus inequalities, The MJ has learnt.

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