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Bristol City Council

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The statue was taken from the harbour early on Thursday morning

A statue of a slave trader that was thrown into a harbour by anti-racism protestors has been retrieved from the water.

Black Lives Matter demonstrators tore down the statue of Edward Colston during a protest in Bristol on Sunday.

Bristol City Council said it needed to be removed from the water because the city had a “working harbour”.

The statue will be taken to a secure location before becoming a museum exhibit, the authority said.

It was fished out at about 05:00 BST because the council “didn’t want anybody to get hurt if there was a crowd there or anyone looking”.

“We’ve had a diver down there who attached the ropes to crane it out of the water and take it away,” Ray Barnett, head of collections and archives at Bristol City Council, said.

“The ropes that were tied around him, the spray paint added to him, is still there so we’ll keep him like that.”

Mr Barnett said the statue would now be hosed down to remove the mud and ensure “we preserve him as he was tipped into the dock, while the decision is made how to move on for there”.

“Our intention is to stabilise him before he corrodes further,” he said.

Previously, Bristol’s Mayor Marvin Rees said he “felt no sense of loss” at the statue’s removal.

When the statue fell, Avon and Somerset Police elected not to intervene, saying officers would have faced a violent confrontation.

The statue has been a controversial fixture in the city, with repeated calls for it to be removed.

Other organisations, including schools, that use the Colston name are now looking at changing their names following the protest.


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