Workers prepare to take down a statue of slave owner Robert Milligan at West India Quay, east London, Tuesday, June 9, 2020, after a protest saw anti-racism campaigners tear down a statue of a slave trader in Bristol. London's mayor says statues of imperialist figures could be removed from the city's streets, in the latest sign of change sparked by the death of George Floyd. London Mayor Sadiq Khan says he is setting up a commission to ensure monuments reflect the city's diversity. (Yui Mok/PA via AP)
Workers prepare to take down a statue of slave owner Robert Milligan at West India Quay, east London, Tuesday, June 9, 2020, after a protest saw anti-racism campaigners tear down a statue of a slave trader in Bristol. London's mayor says statues of imperialist figures could be removed from the city's streets, in the latest sign of change sparked by the death of George Floyd. London Mayor Sadiq Khan says he is setting up a commission to ensure monuments reflect the city's diversity. (Yui Mok/PA via AP)

London statue of 18th century slave trader Robert Milligan removed

By John Sibley, Natalie Thomas and Will Russell Time of article published Jun 9, 2020

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LONDON - A statue of Robert Milligan, an 18th century slave trader, was being removed from its plinth outside a London museum on Tuesday after officials decided it was no longer acceptable to the local community.

The previously obscure statue, which stands in front of the Museum of London Docklands, came into focus after demonstrators taking part in a global anti-racism protest movement tore down the statue of a slave trader in Bristol, southwest England. 

Earlier on Tuesday, London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced that more statues of imperialist figures could be removed from Britain’s streets following the unauthorised felling of a slave-trader's monument, as the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis continued to spark protests - and drive change - around the world.

On the day Floyd was being buried in his hometown of Houston, Texas, Khan said he was setting up a commission to ensure the British capital's monuments reflected its diversity. The Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm will review statues, murals, street art, street names and other memorials and consider which legacies should be celebrated, the mayor’s office said.

“It is an uncomfortable truth that our nation and city owes a large part of its wealth to its role in the slave trade and while this is reflected in our public realm, the contribution of many of our communities to life in our capital has been willfully ignored,” Khan said.

International protests of racial injustice and police violence that Floyd’s May 25 death spurred show no sign of abating. A white police officer who pressed a knee on Floyd's neck for more than 8 minutes has been charged with murder.

Staff members and lawmakers in Britain’s Parliament held a minute of silence in Floyd’s memory on Tuesday. Demonstrators planned to gather in London’s Parliament Square for a socially distanced vigil later.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged that it was “a cold reality” that people of color in Britain experienced discrimination, and promised his government was committed to “eradicating prejudice and creating opportunity.”

But he said those who attacked police or desecrated public monuments should face “the full force of the law.”

Reuters

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