Bristol council have removed a statue of a Black Lives Matter protester around 24 hours after it was secretly raised on a plinth where a memorial to Edward Colston once stood, before it was dumped in a nearby harbour by demonstrators last month.
Pictures from the scene show workers at the site at around 5.20am on Thursday, more than a month after demonstrators tore down the Colston statue, rolled it through Bristol’s streets and dumped it in the city’s harbour.
Bristol City Council said it was removed at their request, adding: ‘This morning we removed the sculpture. It will be held at our museum for the artist to collect or donate to our collection.’
Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, said he has a ‘relentless commitment to build a city for all Bristolians.’
Speaking yesterday, the London-based artist who sculpted the statue of Jen Reid, which stood atop the plinth for around 24 hours, said he didn’t have ‘any expectations’ on how long the piece would stay up.
The toppling of the Colston statue prompted a wave of attacks on varies monuments to historical figures from Britain’s past, including Winston Churchill, Oliver Cromwell and Admiral Lord Nelson.
Last month PM Boris Johnson warned: ‘We cannot now try to edit or censor our past,’ as protests led to some statues in London, including Churchill’s and one of Nelson Mandela, being covered up.
Bristol council workers arrived at the former memorial to Edward Colston at around 5.20am this morning to remove a statue of Black Lives Matter protester Jen Reid
The sculpture has been taken to Bristol Museum to collect or donate to its own collection – which will also house the statue to Edward Colston that was toppled last month
Council workers lifted the sculpture of Jen Reid away from the plinth where Edward Colston’s statue once stood, and loaded it into a lorry
The sculpture of Ms Reid, titled A Surge of Power, was secretly raised in Bristol on Wednesday and removed earlier today
Sculptor Marc Quinn told MailOnline yesterday he had ‘no idea’ how long the BLM statue would last after it was erected on a plinth where a memorial to slave trader Edward Colston once stood
The statue, by artist Marc Quinn, was put up in the early hours of Wednesday.
Quinn’s lifesize black resin and steel piece of Jen Reid was inspired after seeing a photo of her standing on the empty plinth following the toppling of the Colston statue.
The sculpture, entitled A Surge of Power (Jen Reid), was installed without the knowledge or consent of Bristol City Council.
On Wednesday, Bristol mayor Marvin Rees tweeted: ‘I understand people want expression, but the statue has been put up without permission.
‘Anything put on the plinth outside of the process we’ve put in place will have to be removed.’
The Mayor had earlier issued a statement stating that the future of the plinth, and any memorials, must be decided ‘by the people of Bristol’. Mr Rees said he has established a ‘history commission’, which will help authorities ‘decide on city memorials and the future of the plinth’.
He said: ‘We need change. In leading that change we have to find a pace that brings people with us. There is an African proverb that says if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.
‘Our challenge is to take the city far. The art of building our city will be finding a way to live with our difference so that even where people do not get what they want, they know they live in a city that is their one and respects them.’
A Surge of Power, the title of the sculpture in Bristol raised yesterday, was removed by council workers and taken to a nearby museum
Artist Marc Quinn said he was inspired to create the sculpture after seeing a picture of Ms Reid atop the plinth in Bristol during last month’s protests
Black Lives Matter protester Jen Reid posed in front of a statue of herself in Bristol yesterday – this morning council workers have removed the sculpture
The Edward Colston statue was pulled down in Bristol on Sunday, June 7 during Black Lives Matter protests after years of protest over the former slave trader
Demonstrators then rolled the statue of the 17th century slave trader and pushed it into Bristol Harbour on Sunday, June 7
The statue of Edward Colston had to be fished out of Bristol Harbour and is being restored before it is taken to a museum
Ms Reid, a descendant of Jamaican immigrants, had attended the march in June 7 – her first BLM demonstration – with husband Alasdair Doggart, who helped roll the statue of Colston into the river when it was pulled down.
Speaking yesterday she said seeing the Colston statue being toppled felt like a ‘truly historical moment’.
She added: ‘This sculpture is about making a stand for my mother, for my daughter, for Black people like me. It’s about Black children seeing it up there. It’s something to feel proud of, to have a sense of belonging, because we actually do belong here and we’re not going anywhere.’
Artist Marc Quinn said the new statue was a ‘temporary public installation’.
He told MailOnline yesterday: ‘We have no idea how long it will be there, we don’t have any expectations.
‘Jen and I are not putting this sculpture on the plinth as a permanent solution to what should be there – it’s a spark which we hope will help to bring continued attention to this vital and pressing issue.’
The monument to Colston is currently being restored after being fished from the water and will eventually be placed in a museum.
A team of ten people led by Mr Quinn worked quickly and in secret to erect the statue. Workers arrived in two lorries and had the sculpture up within 15 minutes using a hydraulic crane truck parked next to the plinth.
Protesters tore down a statue of Edward Colston on Sunday, June 7, on the same day a memorial to Winston Churchill in London was defaced with the words ‘was a racist’ written on a plinth underneath.
A ‘hit list’ of memorials to some of Britain’s most famous figures has been created by an anti-racism group and uploaded to the website Topple The Racists
It prompted a wave of statues being targeted with graffiti or being attacked during protests, culminating in some statues, including ones of Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill, being covered up to be protected from vandals.
The Topple the Racists campaign launched a comprehensive list of statues it wanted to see removed as it believed the names behind the monuments held racist beliefs.
It led to Oriel College at Oxford University voting to remove a statue of Cecil Rhodes, a colonialist politician in southern Africa in the 19th century.
Boris Johnson wrote last month: ‘We cannot now try to edit or censor our past. We cannot pretend to have a different history. The statues in our cities and towns were put up by previous generations.
‘They had different perspectives, different understandings of right and wrong. But those statues teach us about our past, with all its faults. To tear them down would be to lie about our history, and impoverish the education of generations to come.’
Memorials to politicians, war heroes and authors all targeted due to links to slavery and racist beliefs
Since Edward Colston’s statue was thrown into Bristol Harbour, there has been a wave of attacks from vandals on various monuments across Britain.
A statue to Winston Churchill was defaced with the words ‘was a racist’ and ‘f*** your agenda’ written underneath the memorial to the war time PM in Westminster Square, London.
Slave trader Robert Milligan’s was covered with a shord and the message ‘Black Lives Matter’ was placed on it in West India Docks amid calls for it to be taken down. It was later removed by Tower Hamlets Council.
Tower Hamlets Council removed a statue of slave trader Robert Milligan after it was covered and displayed the message ‘Black Lives Matter’ during last month’s protests
Less than a year after it was erected, ‘Nazi’ was scrawled underneath a statue of Nancy Astor, the first woman to take a seat in Parliament, in Plymouth.
A monument to 19th-century politician Henry Vassall-Fox, the third Baron Holland, was left splattered with red paint in Holland Park. A cardboard sign reading ‘I owned 401 slaves’ was perched in the bronze statue’s arms, with the number painted on the plinth alongside red handprints.
A Grade II-listed monument to Admiral Lord Nelson, Britain’s foremost naval hero, which stands in the grounds of Norwich Cathedral, was sprayed with a black ‘V’ in the middle of a circle – an anarchist symbol.
Red paint spattered another stature of Lord Nelson at Deptford Town Hall in South London.
In Kent, a former councillor wrote ‘Dickens Racist’ outside a museum dedicated to the beloved 19th century author. Letters sent by the Oliver Twist author showed he wished to ‘exterminate’ Indian citizens after a failed uprising.
A statue of Civil War leader Oliver Cromwell in Wythenshawe Park, Manchester, had the words ‘Cromwell is a cockroach,’ ‘f*** racist’ and the Black Lives Matter acronym ‘BLM’ scrawled across it last month. Thousands of people were massacred during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland.
BLM was also scrawled across the Worcester Civil War memorial in Royal Park.