Thousands turn out for Black Lives Matter protest

Around 10,000 people turned out for a peaceful protest for Black Lives Matter – sparked by the murder of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

It was one of many protests around the world to remember those who had lost their lives at the hands of the police and stand up against racism and inequality.

The protest started on College Green with speeches in front of City Hall and an eight minute silence with many people kneeling – before continuing through the city centre and on to Castle Park.

Most attendees wore masks and many carried home made placards and the event was supported by comments on social media.

People across the city had also been urged by Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees to ‘Take the Knee’ in support of the global campaign and to show solidarity.

In a historic moment, the statue of slave trader Edward Colston was toppled from his plinth with ropes before being rolled to the harbour and thrown into the water by Pero’s bridge – named after a freed African slave who lived in Bristol, Pero Jones.

At the end of the protest, organiser Yvonne Muringi wrote: “Thank you so much to everyone that gave a hand. We left the area clean I’m insanely happy and overwhelmed. “We’re on the right side of history.”

The action made the news across the world and Avon and Somerset police later released a statement from Bristol Area Commander, Superintendent Andy Bennett explaining why they had not intervened.

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees also announced the statue of Edward Coston will be retrieved from the harbour and exhibited in one of the city’s museums.

He said the statue would be displayed alongside Black Lives Matter placards from the recent protest so “the 300 year story of slavery through to today’s fight for racial equality can be learnt about”.