Edward Colston statue in Bristol replaced with Star Wars sculpture

Bristol: Edward Colston statue replaced by sculpture of protester

A battle droid from Star Wars has appeared in Bristol overnight on top of the empty plinth on which a statue of slaver Edward Colston was mounted. The sculpture was created by artist Simon Francis Thomas who lives in Bristol.

The droid on the plinth appears to be reading a paper which has the words ‘Star Wars celebration’ on the back.

Writing on his Instagram page, Simon said: “If you are in central Bristol today pop by our Star Wars Celebration sculpture being displayed for 3 days on the controversial Colston statue plinth.”

A statue of Darth Vader was placed on the empty plinth in December 2020 after the death of Star Wars actor and Bristol native Dave Prowse.

The statue of 17th century slave trader Colston was torn down by protesters in 2020 during a Black Lives Matter demonstration and thrown in the harbour

Tiffany Lyare, 16, a member of the team which organised its removal, saying: “The statue was glorifying the acts of a slave trader.

“He gave some money to schools and good causes but it was blood money.”

Jake Skuse 33, Rhian Graham, 30, Milo Ponsford, 26, and Sage Willoughby, 22, were all cleared of criminal damage last despite not disputing the roles they had played in pulling down the statue.

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Labour MP Cliver Lewis said at the time: “A British jury has confirmed the toppling of Edwards Colston’s statue was not a criminal act. The real crime was the fact the statue was still there when protesters pulled it down.

“Today’s verdict makes a compelling case that a majority of the British public want to deal with our colonial and slave trading past, not run away from it.

“That’s important to understand and I hope it gives political leaders a little more confidence when it comes to challenging the ‘culture war’ our government is currently pursuing.”

Edward Colston statue: Protesters cleared of criminal damage

However, then-Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, while not contradicting the verdict of the jury, said:

“As a broader point, I would say we’re not in a country where destroying public property can ever be acceptable.

“We live in a democratic country. If you want to see things changed you can get them changed, you do that through the ballot box, or petitioning your local council, etc. You don’t do it by going out and causing criminal damage.

“We’ll always be on the side of the law and when necessary we will fix any loopholes in the law to make sure that’s always the case.”

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