US rapper Ice Cube posted an impassioned tweet in response to protesters’ toppling of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol city centre.
O’Shea Jackson, better known as Ice Cube, tweeted to his 5.2 million followers: “THEY WILL ALL FALL.”
The former N.W.A. member, who has been a major voice in the Black Lives Matter movement, shared a tweet from journalist Owen Jones.
Mr Jones tweeted: “Edward Colston was a leading figure in the transportation of an estimated 84,000 Africans, including children, as slaves. 19,000 died on the journey from West Africa to the Caribbean and the Americas.
“This is our history: now we have to face it.”
Ice Cube also retweeted images of the statue being tipped into the water.
The star, who wrote Eazy-E’s 1987 hit Boyz-n-the-Hood, shared the pictures with the message: “One hood.”
Avon and Somerset police have launched an investigation into the “act of criminal damage”, but said the protest otherwise passed with no disorder and no arrests.
Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, said in a statement: “I know the removal of the Colston statue will divide opinion, as the statue itself has done for many years. However it’s important to listen to those who found the statue to represent an affront to humanity.
“Let’s make the legacy of today about the future of our city, tackling racism and inequality. I call on everyone to challenge racism and inequality in every corner of our city and wherever we see it.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel told the BBC the removal of the monument was “utterly disgraceful”.
She said: “That speaks to the acts of public disorder that actually have become a distraction from the cause people are actually protesting about.
“It is a completely unacceptable act. Sheer vandalism and disorder are completely unacceptable.
“It’s right that police follow up on that and make sure that justice is taken with those individuals responsible for such disorderly and lawless behaviour.”
ITV presenter Piers Morgan responded in tweets: “Does Priti Patel even know who Edward Colston was?
“He was a major slave trader involved in the transportation of 84,000 enslaved African men, women & young children, of whom 19,000 died on voyages from West Africa to the Caribbean & the Americas.
“Priti Patel thinks pulling down a slave trader’s statue ‘undermines’ racism protests. Have we ever had a more tone-deaf Home Secretary?”
And historian David Olusoga said the statue should have been taken down “a long time ago”.
He said: “The fact it has not been seen as a problem for such a long time, that so many people are confused as to why the statue offends and upsets people, has been the problem.”
Former Chancellor Sajid Javid, who grew up on Easton’s Stapleton Road, criticised the “criminal damage” against the statue.
The Bromsgrove MP tweeted: “I detest how Edward Colston profited from the slave trade.
“But, THIS IS NOT OK. If Bristolians wants to remove a monument it should be done democratically – not by criminal damage.”
Superintendent Andy Bennett said the demonstration was attended by an estimated 10,000 people.
He said: “The vast majority of those who came to voice their concerns about racial inequality and injustice did so peacefully and respectfully.”
(Image: Michael Lloyd)
Supt Bennett added: “However, there was a small group of people who clearly committed an act of criminal damage in pulling down a statue near Bristol Harbourside.
“An investigation will be carried out to identify those involved and we’re already collating footage of the incident.”
Organisers of the protest have distanced themselves from the removal of the statue, telling Bristol Live it had “nothing to do with [them]”.
Protester John McAllister described the monument as “an insult to the people of Bristol”.
He said: “The man was a slave trader. He was generous to Bristol but it was off the back of slavery and it’s absolutely despicable.”