Sadiq Khan today called for the removal of all slave trader statues in the capital as he promised to personally ‘review and improve’ the diversity of the capital’s landmarks and Black Lives Matter protesters targeted the destruction of at least 30 monuments across the UK.
The Mayor of London has launched his own Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm after Black Lives Matter protesters pulled down the monument to Edward Colston in Bristol.
Mayor Khan today said he wouldn’t ‘pre-empt’ the commission’s findings on the suitability of London’s street names, murals, statues and memorials, but admitted he would like any statues of slave traders removed in London and build more ‘people of colour, black people, women, those from the LGBT community’.
But he said he did not think statues such as of Sir Winston Churchill’s in Parliament Square should be included in the review it was tagged with ‘racist’ on Sunday. He said Londoners needed to be educated about famous figures ‘warts and all’ and that ‘nobody was perfect’, including the likes of Churchill, Gandhi and Malcolm X.
It came as BLM activists set their sights on the removal of a statue of British imperialist Cecil Rhodes outside Oriel College in Oxford, where thousands will gather for a protest at 5pm today.
Some began gathering at lunchtime holding placards reading: ‘Rhodes you’re next’ as 26 Oxford City councillors signed a letter saying Rhodes’ statue should go because it is ‘incompatible’ with the city’s ‘commitment to anti-racism’.
Monuments that could be under threat would include statues of Robert Milligan in Docklands, William Beckford at London’s Guildhall, John Cass at London’s Metropolitan University and one Thomas Guy, which stands in the courtyard at Guy’s Hospital.