The Crown prosecution Service (CPS – the UK’s prosecuting authority) has decided to charge four people over the toppling and drowning of the statue of 17th century slave trader, Edward Colston.
Colston’s statute was toppled and then submerged in Bristol Harbor on June 07 during a Black Lives Matter protest in the southwestern English city.
More than six months later the CPS has charged the following four persons with criminal damage: Rhian Graham (29), Milo Ponsford (25), Jake Skuse (32) and Sage Willoughby (21).
All four accused are expected to appear at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on January 25, 2021.
The offense of criminal damage can attract a maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment.
In a statement the CPS said that it “reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against all four are now active and that they have the right to a fair trial”.
"It is extremely important there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings", the CPS added.
The CPS’ decision to prosecute people over the toppling of the statue of a notorious slave trader is likely to be interpreted as a political move, and one that is motivated by the British establishment’s desire to hit back at the Black Lives Matter movement.
The anti-racism protests that engulfed London and major British cities in the summer were perceived as a serious political threat by the British establishment, as demonstrated by the toppling of iconic statues and other historical symbols of the British state.
In June the British authorities were forced to go to the extreme length of boarding up the statue of wartime leader Winston Churchill with his granddaughter, Emma Soames , even suggesting that the statue could be moved to a “museum” to save it from the wrath of anti-racism protesters.