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British protesters target symbols of slavery and empire

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 02:01s - Published
British protesters target symbols of slavery and empire

British protesters target symbols of slavery and empire

Protesters in Oxford demanded the removal of a statue of colonialist Cecil Rhodes, while in London, a slave-trader's statue was targeted as part of protests against symbols of the slave trade and empire.

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Protesters demanded the removal on Tuesday of the statue of Cecil Rhodes, a 19th-century British colonialist, from a college at Oxford university.

Boosted by dramatic images of demonstrators in the port city of Bristol tearing down a statue of 17th-century slave-trader Edward Colston.

The wave of anti-racism action sweeping across the United States and Europe has reignited a debate about monuments that glorify Britain's imperialist past.

Mining-magnate Rhodes gave his name to Rhodesia, present day Zimbabwe, and founded the De Beers diamond empire.

His beliefs and measures on racial segregation paved the way to apartheid.

Rhodes studied at Oxford and bequeathed money for his college and thousands of scholarships, hence the statue.

Some academics argue the statue is part of history, and should be debated.

But students say he shouldn't have pride of place on the facade of Oriol college.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) 25-YEAR-OLD STUDENT, MORATEGI KALE, SAYING: "Rhodes represents such a violent legacy of colonialism, imperialism, slavery, particularly in southern Africa, and the values he represents are not the values that we stand by, and not the values that we think should be celebrated in this community." (SOUNDBITE) (English) 22-YEAR-OLD STUDENT, JAVAN RAVINDIAN, SAYING: "The statue symbolises that the university still hasn't shown a clear commitment to engaging with issues that black students face, and to decolonising.

And for black and brown students and people of colour to have to walk around this university and see symbols of slavery and colonisation is frankly quite abhorrent, I think." In London, a statue of Scottish merchant and slave owner Robert Milligan had a blanket thrown over it and a Black Lives Matter sign attached to it.

As Mayor Sadiq Khan ordered a review of the capital's statues, plaques and street names.

He called it "an uncomfortable truth" that London and Britain owe a large part of their wealth to their role in the slave trade.




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Cecil Rhodes Cecil Rhodes British businessman, mining magnate and politician in South Africa

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Robert Milligan (merchant) Robert Milligan (merchant) British slave owner and merchant


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