Churchill statue uncovered ahead of Macron visit

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A statue of Sir Winston Churchill targeted during anti-racism protests has been uncovered for a visit by the French president this week.

The statue in Parliament Square, Westminster, was covered for protection following the protests earlier in June.

Nearby statues to Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi will stay hidden behind protective screens.

Emmanuel Macron will visit London on 18 June to mark the 80th anniversary of a famous speech by Charles de Gaulle.

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said the uncovering will "remain under review" by the Greater London Authority in consultation with the Met police.

Churchill's statue was defaced during a protest on 8 June, while in Bristol an effigy of slave trader Edward Colston was pulled down.

image source, Getty Images
image captionThe statue of Churchill had been fully encased to protect it form protesters

While Churchill is credited with helping lead the Allies to victory in World War Two, some critics accuse him of racism because of comments he made about Indians.

The Grade-II listed bronze tribute to the former home secretary and prime minister was installed in 1973 at the north-east corner of Parliament Square, opposite the Carriage Gates entrance to the Palace of Westminster.

Video shared online also appeared to show a protester climb the Cenotaph, the memorial to Britain's war dead on Whitehall, and attempt to set a union jack flag alight.

image source, Getty Images
image captionBoards were taken down around the cenotaph on Monday

The French premier's visit marks the 80th anniversary of General Charles de Gaulle's appeal to the French population to resist the German occupation of France during the Second World War.

His rallying call was broadcast on the BBC in June 1940, when he said: "I call upon all Frenchmen who want to remain free to listen to my voice and follow me."

image source, PA Media
image captionA statue of Winston Churchill in London was spray-painted with the words "was a racist"

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will welcome President Macron at Clarence House as part of his visit.

The RAF's Red Arrows have organised a flypast alongside their French counterparts, La Patrouille de France.

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