Four of the protestors who toppled the statue of slaver Edward Colston in Bristol June 2020 are currently on trial in Bristol Crown Court, accused of criminal damage. They are being prosecuted for their role in pulling down the statue of the slave trader, which stood above a plaque describing him as “one of the most virtuous and wise sons” of Bristol. The statue was pulled down and tossed into Bristol Harbour during the course of a Black Lives Matter march on 7 June 2020, called in response to the murder of George Floyd by a US police officer on 25 May 2020.
Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh is representing Rhian Graham who denies all criminal charges. She told the police that the statue celebrating the slave trader was “an abhorrent offence” to the population of Bristol.
The Prosecution confirmed that Edward Colston was a slaver and gained his fortune from the slave trade, asserting that he was a ‘divisive figure’. Bristol City Councils Head of Culture also confirmed that despite significant concerns from the public and calls for the statue to be removed they had not considered removing the statue.
Campaigners have voices their support for the four defendants and are demonstrating outside the court claiming the trial is not in the public interest.
The trial continues into next week.