LBC: Callers argue over Black Lives Matter protests
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Callers Tony, from Fareham, and Joy, from Tottenham, rang into LBC about the Edward Colston statue toppling and the subsequent court case which saw four people cleared of criminal damage. Tony said the event did not “bode well for race relations” and said it was not right for people to “tear down” what they do not particularly like. But Joy was furious at Tony and said the statue had caused “misery” for people of colour like her as the pair began shouting over each other during a tense debate.
Speaking on LBC, Tony argued the statue should stay in a museum and that it was not right for groups like Black Lives Matter to do what they want.
Joy responded: “This rancid, evil demonic statue that has been up for 200 years… I suggest [to] your caller you have there [that he] researches what this man did.”
Tony calmly responded by saying Joy’s passionate reaction was the reason why people “get their backs up” over stories like these.
The caller then used the premier league as an example of racial equality before host Eddie Mair steered the conversation back to Joy’s point of the slave trade which happened centuries ago.
Tony replied: “500 years, we’re living in the 21st Century this is not 500 years ago.
“These statues… and it’s an insult to say that he British people do not know anything about the slave trade… many people know what happened in the slave trade.”
Joy interrupted and said Tony “seems quite ignorant” and disagreed people were clued up about slavery.
Tony added it was not right for people to “run around the streets and tear down statues”.
Joy was angry she was being told how to feel about the story and said it was not right to be told to “shut up” about the issue.
Tony said British people understood the slave trade before Mr Mair stated Joy was also a British person.
Tony was then told that there should be compensation for the black communities because of the actions hundreds of years ago but he argued things like the slave trade did not occur in the UK now.
Mr Mair then explained Joy had written several times to remove the statue but was ignored with Tony saying that was not the fault of the public.
Bristol: Edward Colston statue thrown into water by protesters
Four people were cleared of criminal damage after a statue of Edward Colston was thrown into Bristol harbour in June 2020.
Sage Willoughby, Rhian Graham, Milo Ponsford and Jake Skuse were charged after the statue was illegally removed during a Black Lives Matter protest in the city.
Mr Skuse was represented by Raj Chada who said: “It is shameful that Bristol City Council did not take down the statue of slaver Edward Colston that had caused such offence to people in Bristol and equally shameful that they then supported the prosecution of these defendants.”
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CCTV video was shown during the trial which showed each of the defendants taking part in toppling the statue.
Bristol council’s head of culture, Jon Finch, confirmed £350 damage to the harbour railings and £2,400 damage to the pavement was done during the toppling.
Prosecutor William Hughes opened the case back in mid-December by saying: “We accept that Edward Colston was a divisive figure, however, we say what Edward Colston may or may not have done, good or bad [is] not on trial and [is] not an issue for you, these four defendants are.”
Mr Hughes added the fact Edward Colston was a slave trader was “wholly irrelevant”.
Liam Walker, who represented Mr Willoughby, said: “Each of these defendants were on the right side of history, and I submit, they were also on the right side of the law.
“Colston’s deeds may be historical but the continued veneration of him in this city was not. The continued veneration of him in a vibrant multicultural city was an act of abuse.”
Defender Mr Ponsford also told jurors: “I thought that a statue that celebrates a figure such as Colston was disgraceful, and offensive to the people of Bristol.”
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