Lewis Hamilton responds to Black Lives Matter protesters who tore down statue

Lewis Hamilton has backed the decision of Black Lives Matter protesters to tear down a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol.

Demonstrators hauled down the 18ft bronze sculpture during a protest on Sunday and pushed it into the docks.

The statue has stood for over a century since its erection in 1895, but has divided opinion in the city due to Colston's history of trading tens of thousands of African slaves.

Campaigners have long argued over the appropriateness of the statue, and Hamilton has now shown his support for the actions of those involved in its removal.

The six-time Formula One world champion wrote on Instagram : "Slave trader Edward Colston statue pulled down!!!

"Our country honoured a man who sold African slaves! All statues of racist men who made money from selling a human being should be torn down!"

Hamilton then followed that up with another message suggesting protesters should move on to a new target.

"Which one is next?" he wrote, followed by an emoji of a fist.

As reports The Guardian, Colston made significant sums of money by working for the Royal African Company (RAC) in the late 1600s.

RAC were believed to be involved in the sale of around 100,000 slaves from west Africa to areas of the Caribbean and the Americas.

The company would brand each slave's chest with their logo, including those of women and children.

Having been born in Bristol, Colston later donated funds to schools and charities in the city, developing a reputation as a philanthropist in the process, before serving as the local MP for the Conservative party.

His statue was stood on Colston Avenue, while his name is also on a school, a concert hall and an office block.

A ongoing petition by campaigners read: "We hereby encourage Bristol city council to remove the Edward Colston statue. He does not represent our diverse and multicultural city."

The statue's presence was defended by Bristol Museums, who claim that there is no evidence Colston took part in slave trade himself, despite recognising he had worked for the RAC.

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Protesters then took matters into their own hands at the weekend, arming themselves with grappling hooks to rip down the statue, before jumping on it and rolling it down to the docks.

Hamilton added further: "I challenge government officials worldwide to make these changes and implement the peaceful removal of these racist symbols."

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