Another Statue Of Slave Trader Is Removed In London Following Black Lives Matter Protests
Another statue of a slave trader in the UK has been removed by workmen.
Tower Hamlets Council took down the statue of Robert Milligan from its position at West India Quay, east London this evening.
Milligan, born in Scotland, moved to Jamaica where he managed his family's sugar plantations and was said to have owned 526 slaves.
The previously obscure statue of Milligan stood in front of the Museum of London Docklands, on the edge of the glitzy business district of Canary Wharf, which is surrounded by the multi-ethnic, working-class borough of Tower Hamlets.
Milligan was involved in the construction of London's West India Docks.
Onlookers cheered and applauded as workers in high-visibility jackets separated the statue from its plinth, then lifted it off with a crane truck at around 7pm.
In a statement on Twitter, the council said: "Tonight, we have removed the statue of slave trader Robert Milligan that previously stood at West India Quay.
"We have also announced a review into monuments and other sites in our borough to understand how we should represent the more troubling periods in our history."
It came after charity Canal and River Trust, which owns the land where the statue is located, said it would organise its "safe removal" following a petition launched by Tower Hamlets Labour councillor Ehtasham Haque demanding it be taken down.
The mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, told Reuters from the scene he felt strongly it was no longer appropriate to leave the statue in place. He said it would be put into storage and discussions would take place about what to do with it.
"People assumed he was just a businessman who helped build the docks, but when you dig into it you learn that in fact he was a slave trader," Biggs said.
"I find it refreshing, I find it inspiring that people want to learn and reflect."
Sharing footage of the moment the statue of Robert Milligan was removed, London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted: "The statue of slave trader Robert Milligan has now been removed from West India Quay.
"It's a sad truth that much of our wealth was derived from the slave trade - but this does not have to be celebrated in our public spaces. #BlackLivesMatter".
Mayor Khan said a commission would review statues, plaques and street names which reflect the rapid expansion of London's wealth and power at the height of Britain's empire in the reign of Queen Victoria."Our capital's diversity is our greatest strength, yet our statues, road names and public spaces reflect a bygone era," he said.
The removal comes just days after the statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston was toppled and thrown into the river in Bristol.And tonight, thousands have gathered in Oxford demanding the statue of British imperialist Cecil Rhodes be taken down.
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