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Statue of Black Lives Matter protester removed 24 hours after it’s erected

2020-07-25

A new statue of a Black Lives Matter protester was removed Thursday about as quickly as it went up, replacing that of a slave trader.

“A Surge of Power (Jen Reid) 2020? was removed early Thursday from the plinth in Bristol, England — about 118 miles west of London — where British artist Marc Quinn had erected it without permission early Wednesday, NBC News reports.

“This morning we removed the sculpture. It will be held at our museum for the artist to collect or donate to our collection,” the Bristol City Council said in a statement, Sky News reported.

Quinn might need to pay the council out of his own pocket for the cost of the removal, said Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees.

“We welcome the provocation in many ways, but you also need to be an adult and take full responsibility for what you do,” Rees, who is black, told Sky News’ Kay Burley @ Breakfast.

On Wednesday, he noted, “The sculpture ... was the work and decision of a London-based artist. It was not requested and permission was not given for it to be installed.

“We have set out a process to manage our journey,” Rees continued. “We have established a history commission which will help us tell our full city history.

The figure depicted local resident and protester Jen Reid as she gave a Black Power salute during a Black Lives Matter protest in early June.

Beforehand, the likeness of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston had stood there. The figure was toppled during the protest, which occurred in the wake of George Floyd’s death by police, and was thrown into Bristol’s harbor.

“The future of the plinth and what is installed on it must be decided by the people of Bristol,” Rees said prior to the sculpture’s removal. “This will be critical to building a city that is home to those who are elated at the [Colston] statue being pulled down, those who sympathize with its removal but are dismayed at how it happened and those who feel that in its removal, they’ve lost a piece of the Bristol they know and therefore themselves.”