Wales

Black Lives Matter: Public to decide on HM Stanley statue in Denbigh

Henry Morton Stanley statue in Denbigh Image copyright Geograph / Jeremy Bolwell
Image caption The statue of Henry Morton Stanley was installed in Denbigh town centre in 2010

Councillors have voted to consult the public on removing a statue honouring a Victorian adventurer who opponents claim had links to slavery.

A petition to remove the statue of Henry Morton Stanley from Denbigh town centre has more than 7,000 signatures.

It refers to Stanley's "excessive violence, wanton destruction, the selling of labourers into slavery and shooting Africans indiscriminately".

Another monument in St Asaph will stay in place but may be given new wording.

Born in Denbigh in 1841, Stanley was a journalist, soldier and politician, most famous for his exploration of central Africa and search for missionary David Livingstone.

However, amid widespread protests from the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd in the USA, petitions were drawn up calling for the removal of a statue of Stanley in Denbigh and an obelisk honouring him in nearby St Asaph.

The Bishop of St Asaph, Gregory Cameron, is among those calling for the removal of the Denbigh statue, saying Stanley had "little respect for the natives of Africa".

Denbigh town councillors voted by a majority of one on Wednesday night to keep the statue pending a public consultation on its future, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Councillor Rob Parkes said: "The vast majority of emails I've had have been against keeping the statue.

"The eyes of the world are on us and it's vitally important we make the right decision."

Some members suggested the statue should be moved to another location, such as a museum, to be used for educational purposes.

Councillor Roy Tickell said: "I believe in the full documentation of history, the good, the bad and the downright ugly."

Image copyright Llywelyn2000
Image caption An obelisk in St Asaph honouring Stanley "needs to better reflect today's climate", a councillor said

Earlier, St Asaph city councillors voted unanimously to keep its obelisk monument to Stanley, but agreed to set up a working party to decide on whether to amend the accompanying information about him.

Elen Lewis, who led the St Asaph petition signed by 1,100 people, told a meeting of St Asaph city councillors his links to genocide in Congo should be acknowledged.

She said her education about Stanley had not presented the "two sides" of his story, referring only to his heroic exploits.

Councillor Peter Scott said the monument should stay but "needs to better reflect today's climate".

He added that a study of Belgian archives suggested Stanley had left the employ of Belgian King Leopold II about eight years before the killings took place in the country's former colony.

More on George Floyd's death

US protests timeline

George Floyd dies after police arrest

Tributes to George Floyd at a makeshift memorial
Image caption Tributes to George Floyd at a makeshift memorial Image copyright by Getty Images

George Floyd dies after being arrested by police outside a shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Footage shows a white officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for several minutes while he is pinned to the floor. Mr Floyd is heard repeatedly saying "I can’t breathe". He is pronounced dead later in hospital.

Protests begin

Demonstrators in Minneapolis
Image caption Demonstrators in Minneapolis Image copyright by AFP

Four officers involved in the arrest of George Floyd are fired. Protests begin as the video of the arrest is shared widely on social media. Hundreds of demonstrators take to the streets of Minneapolis and vandalise police cars and the police station with graffiti.

Protests spread

Protesters lie on the streets in Portland, Oregon
Image caption Protesters lie on the streets in Portland, Oregon Image copyright by Reuters

Protests spread to other cities including Memphis and Los Angeles. In some places, like Portland, Oregon, protesters lie in the road, chanting "I can’t breathe". Demonstrators again gather around the police station in Minneapolis where the officers involved in George Floyd’s arrest were based and set fire to it. The building is evacuated and police retreat.

Trump tweets

President Trump tweets about the unrest
Image caption President Trump tweets about the unrest Image copyright by Reuters

President Trump blames the violence on a lack of leadership in Minneapolis and threatens to send in the National Guard in a tweet.  He follows it up in a second tweet with a warning "when the looting starts, the shooting starts". The second tweet is hidden by Twitter for "glorifying violence".

CNN reporter arrested

Members of a CNN crew are arrested at a protest
Image caption Members of a CNN crew are arrested at a protest Image copyright by Reuters

A CNN reporter, Omar Jimenez, is arrested while covering the Minneapolis protest. Mr Jimenez was reporting live when police officers handcuffed him. A few minutes later several of his colleagues are also arrested. They are all later released once they are confirmed to be members of the media.

Derek Chauvin charged with murder

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin after being charged over the death of George Floyd
Image caption Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin after being charged over the death of George Floyd Image copyright by Getty Images

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, 44, is charged with murder and manslaughter. The charges carry a combined maximum 35-year sentence.

Sixth night of protests

Demonstrators set fire to rubbish in New York
Image caption Demonstrators set fire to rubbish in New York Image copyright by Reuters

Violence spreads across the US on the sixth night of protests. A total of at least five people are reported killed in protests from Indianapolis to Chicago. More than 75 cities have seen protests. At least 4,400 people have been arrested.  Curfews are imposed across the US to try to stem the unrest.

Trump threatens military response

Trump posing with a Bible outside a boarded-up church
Image caption Trump posing with a Bible outside a boarded-up church Image copyright by EPA

President Trump threatens to send in the military to quell growing civil unrest. He says if cities and states fail to control the protests and "defend their residents" he will deploy the army and "quickly solve the problem for them". Mr Trump poses in front of a damaged church shortly after police used tear gas to disperse peaceful protesters nearby.

Eighth night of protests

George Floyd’s family joined protesters in Houston
Image caption George Floyd’s family joined protesters in Houston Image copyright by Getty

Tens of thousands of protesters again take to the streets. One of the biggest protests is in George Floyd’s hometown of Houston, Texas. Many defy curfews in several cities, but the demonstrations are largely peaceful.

Memorial service for George Floyd

Mourners gather to remember George Floyd
Image caption Mourners gather to remember George Floyd Image copyright by Getty

A memorial service for George Floyd is held in Minneapolis.  Those gathered in tribute stand in silence for eight minutes, 46 seconds, the amount of time Mr Floyd is alleged to have been on the ground under arrest. Hundreds attended the service, which heard a eulogy from civil rights activist Rev Al Sharpton.

International protests

Protester addresses crowds in Australia
Image caption Protester addresses crowds in Australia Image copyright by Getty

As the US saw another weekend of protests, with tens of thousands marching in Washington DC, anti-racism demonstrations were held around the world.

In Australia, there were major protests in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane that focused on the treatment of indigenous Australians. There were also demonstrations in France, Germany, Spain and the UK. In Bristol, protesters tore down the statue of a 17th century slave trader and threw it into the harbour.

Funeral service for George Floyd

Pallbearers bring the coffin into the church
Image caption Pallbearers bring the coffin into the church Image copyright by Getty

A funeral service for George Floyd is held in Houston, Mr Floyd’s home town. Just over two weeks after his death in Minneapolis and worldwide anti-racism protests, about 500 guests invited by the Floyd family are in attendance at the Fountain of Praise Church.  Many more gather outside to show their support.

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