‘Bring down Winston Churchill’s statue!’ Black Lives Matter organiser calls for ‘offensive’ memorial of wartime leader to be removed and put into a museum
- Imarn Ayton, a figurehead of BLM movement, feels the Churchill statue must go
- As a compromise she feels it should be placed into a museum, not in the streets
- ‘Any statues of people who spoke negatively of black people offend,’ she said
Imarn Ayton, 29, a figurehead of the movement who has given speeches alongside Star Wars actor John Boyega, said a monument to anyone who has made racist comments – including the wartime PM – is offensive and belongs in a museum.
But she urged campaigners to stay off the streets of London to prevent rallies exploding into a ‘race war’ against the far-right, who are among those trooping to the capital and other cities across the UK to defend targeted sculptures.
Asked if she believes Winston Churchill statue should be removed, Ms Ayton told BBC Radio 4: ‘Yes I do. I believe these statues should be moved to a museum I think it’s a win win for everyone.
‘It no longer offends the black nation, but we get to keep our history and keep those that would like to see that.
Imarn Ayton, 29, a figurehead of the BLM movement said a monument to anyone who has made racist comments – including Winston Churchill – is offensive and belongs in a museum
Asked why Churchill’s statue was offensive, she said: ‘Any statue of people who has spoken negatively towards black people is going to be offensive. Any man.’
Her words come as tensions begin to simmer around the United Kingdom, with a series of protests in multiple big cities on Saturday.
Prior to the second wave of mass protests, steps had been taken to fully cover the statue of the wartime Prime Minister, which sits in a prime location on Parliament Square, gazing across at the Houses of Parliament.
A week on from acts of vandalism, the Churchill statue was completely encased in a protective box in order to deter any further attacks.
The statue of the wartime PM stands in Parliament square, gazing out at the Houses of Parliament – but now finds itself completely enclosed (seen right) to ward off attacks
Pro-statue campaigners rallied outside the statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square, which has been boarded up by Sadiq Khan for fear of it becoming a ‘flashpoint for violence’
Far-right protesters walk as British police officers in riot gear escort them away in central London, as groups gather to counter-protest against a Black Lives Matter demonstration
In London police chiefs imposed a 5pm curfew on all demonstrations in a bid to quell the unrest seen throughout the day as an anti-racist rally and a pro-statue counter-protest descended into hooliganism when far-right thugs flooded into Westminster.
But around 1,000 protesters ignored requests to go home, instead staying in Trafalgar Square – one of the flashpoints where the mostly-peaceful demonstrations erupted into violent clashes. Police have not yet forcibly removed anyone from the square.
Throughout the day, mounted officers and riot squads desperately battled to keep the two demonstrations separate, while coming under fire from both sides.
A WPC was treated by her colleagues after she fainted due to dehydration as the violent crashes – which continued throughout the day – took a toll on weary officers.
Hundreds of BLM and pro-statue protesters are also rallied in cities across the country such as Liverpool, Newcastle, Brighton and Glasgow.
Protesters in Bristol gathered at the Cenotaph and held up ‘All Lives Matter’ banners, but denied they were far-right supporters.
One read: ‘Not far right just ordinary people of all races from Bristol, Bath, Cardiff, Newport etc. United to defend the Cenotaph to defend the memory of people who died so that we are able to have the freedom to protest.’
Among those gathered was a large contingent of bikers who parked their motorbikes next to the war memorial.
Many of those present were drinking and there were a number of clashes with police in riot gear as crowds chanting ‘England’ and raising their arms surged towards lines of officers.