Winston Churchill statue vandalised in UK anti-racism protests-- This is how netizens reacted
On Sunday, the statue on London's Parliament Square was defaced with Churchill crossed out with black marker pen and the words "is a racist" scrawled underneath. Protesters also displayed a poster to the memorial with the words "Black Lives Matter."
A statue of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at London's Parliament Square was vandalised as thousands of Black Lives Matter protesters took to the streets on Sunday to condemn police brutality that led to the killing of African American man George Floyd in the US.
Demonstrators scrawled "was a racist" on the statue in Parliament Square as people took part in another protest over Floyd's death. The writing was added to the base of the memorial.
Video footage showed a small crowd of demonstrators chanting “Churchill was a racist” and “Boris (Johnson) is a racist”. Banners with messages such as “British Colonialism is to Blame” and “What if it was your son?” had earlier been left at the base of the column. A Black Lives Matter sign was also strapped to Churchills’ belly.
On Saturday and Sunday, Protesters gathered in London, as well as cities across the UK including Bristol, Manchester, Wolverhampton, Nottingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Protests were generally peaceful, with aerial footage showing thousands of demonstrators flooding the roads outside the US embassy in Vauxhall, south London, before marching towards Parliament Square and Downing Street.
But there were some clashes with police, particularly in the capital.
On Twitter, several Indians remembered him as "the person who caused the Bengal Famine of 1943", which resulted in an estimated death of 2.1–3 million people in modern day West Bengal and Bangladesh.
The vandalism also started a debate about defacement of property and whether the protesters lost the cause they purport to serve. But several people pointed out that the defacement wasn't actually incorrect, historically. Take a look at netizens' reaction to the incident:
Tommy Robinson fans with swastika tattoos are upset that someone sprayed "Winston Churchill was a racist" on a plinth. You couldn't make it up.— Frank Owen's Legendary Paintbrush (@WarmongerHodges) June 7, 2020
Me: Some people are upset because I said Churchill was racist.— Wajahat "Social Distance Yourself" Ali (@WajahatAli) June 8, 2020
Sarah: But he WAS racist.
I married wisely.
3 million people died in the Bengal famine as a direct result of Winston Churchill's crimes. Do they teach that in colonial history in UK schools?— Papa CJ (@PapaCJ) June 7, 2020
Reading this might be a good start to get a fuller picture of him: https://t.co/Ix7nOdqpAb #Genocide#Churchill #WinstonChurchill pic.twitter.com/5SDPBwoeCo
It is true that the man was the maestro in racism and imperialism orchastrating the infamous Bengal famine , plundering the green fertile into wreckage and made the death dance to his tune.— Vinod DX9 (@VinodDX9) June 8, 2020
However, the past is past. Lion and Tiger are friends now .#Churchill pic.twitter.com/uj9yPGgohV
Churchill was more than a racist. A born imperialist, Churchill supported the use of chemical weapons during WWI. The 1942-45 Churchill-made Bengal famine killed millions. India suffered more casualties in WWII than the U.S., France, and Britain combined. https://t.co/hM1PtVtxx3— Brahma Chellaney (@Chellaney) June 8, 2020
Churchill engineered the Bengal famine in India, 1943.— Suraj Chauhan (@savourynation) June 8, 2020
“I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.”
When Indians begged for food, Churchill said it was their fault for “breeding like rabbits”.
4 million Indians starved to death. pic.twitter.com/j9YN4dfg50 pic.twitter.com/XUP69mREKb
“I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes.” Winston Churchill, on Iraqis. https://t.co/ydYNcufwHN— Dr Fern Riddell (@FernRiddell) June 7, 2020
“Politics is more dangerous than war, for in war you are only killed once.”— Patrick Bet-David (@patrickbetdavid) June 7, 2020
Things are getting very ugly with politics today.
The media has divided the world.
The truth is we have more in common than the media has convinced us to believe.
The World needs a synergist
Churchill was a war criminal. He gassed iraq, starved 1000s in India, called Palestinians dogs, not human & deserving of life & land. But he gets a pass because he fire bombed Dresden right?— Syrian Girl ???????? (@Partisangirl) June 8, 2020
Wake me up when they actually knock down Winston Churchill’s statues. #BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/qizusBpTPE pic.twitter.com/KpF3sKOJ16
Churchill helped save the world from actual fascists, requiring actual sacrifice, something the little creeps playacting under the name aren’t capable of or will ever understand. https://t.co/1DoKXvt7kS— Inez Stepman (@InezFeltscher) June 8, 2020
While flawed (like virtually any historical figure), Churchill is one of the all-time greats. Period, end of story.— Colin Moriarty (@notaxation) June 8, 2020
Also an honorary American, as far as I'm concerned.
When you’re calling Churchill a racist and desecrating his statue, you’ve lost the original purpose of your protest. And you will lose support. https://t.co/mItudLvuBJ— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) June 7, 2020
Reacting to the weekend protests, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said demonstrations were "subverted by thuggery" after some demonstrators clashed with police. He said people had the right to protest but engaging in violence was a "betrayal" to protesters' cause.
Thousands of people attended largely peaceful demonstrations in cities across the UK at the weekend. But unrest in the capital on Sunday led to eight officers being injured and 12 people being arrested.
Johnson condemned the violence, posting on Twitter: "People have a right to protest peacefully & while observing social distancing but they have no right to attack the police. These demonstrations have been subverted by thuggery - and they are a betrayal of the cause they purport to serve. Those responsible will be held to account."
The same statue was targeted by protesters on the anniversary of D-Day on Saturday, when the letters “ACAB” were added to the base in green neon paint. It is believed to stand for “All Cops are B****rds”.
Another sculpture of Churchill in New Bond Street, central London, was splashed with white paint in January 2019.
The latest incident happened shortly after demonstrators in Bristol tore down a statue of Edward Colston, a prominent 17th Century slave trader, who has been a source of controversy in the city for many years, and threw it into the city’s river.