Bristol City Council has fished the status of slave trader Edward Colston out of the harbor, where it was dumped by anti-racism protesters on Sunday.
The council tweeted: “This morning we picked up the statue of Colston from Bristol Harbor. It will be taken to a safe location before it becomes part of our museum collection later.”
Avon and Somerset police inspector Andy Bennett said the police would like to identify those involved, while Home Secretary Priti Patel called the image “utterly disgraceful.”
“I think this is absolutely shameful and that speaks of the public disorder that has actually become a distraction from the cause of people actually protesting and trying to empathize with and sympathize with them,” she said.
“That is absolutely an unacceptable act and that speaks to vandalism – again as we saw in London yesterday – but pure vandalism and disorder is completely unacceptable.”
A request has been made by 11,000 people about the bronze monument to have it removed.
Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said in a statement, “During today’s protest, about 10,000 people took to the streets to stand up against injustice and racism, and many more took part at home through Taking the Knee.
“Thanks to everyone who participated peacefully and respected the need to protect their communities as the Covid-19 pandemic continues.
“I know that the removal of the Colston statue will divide opinion, as the statue itself has been doing for many years. However, it is important to listen to those who felt that the image represents an affront to humanity.
“Let’s make today’s legacy about the future of our city, tackling racism and inequality. I call on everyone to challenge racism and inequality in every corner of our city and wherever we see it.”