Edward Colston statue: Protesters cleared of criminal damage
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Jeremy Clarkson, 61, reacted to news that four people who were accused of illegally removing a statue of Edward Colston in Bristol cleared of criminal damage. Sage Willoughby, Rhian Graham, Milo Ponsford and Jake Skuse were charged after the monument of the 17th Century slave trader was torn down and pushed into the harbourside last June during a Black Lives Matter protest in the city, and the Clarkson’s Farm star appeared to wonder where actions like this would end.
Lots of what he says is hateful, so can I push him in a canal?
The four claimed the statue of the English merchant, who sold slaves, was a “hate crime” in itself.
Sharing his views in his latest column for The Sun, The Grand Tour star pondered the future, while taking a swipe at former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who faced damaging anti-semitism scandals.
Jeremy penned: “Four young people were acquitted this week of causing criminal damage, even though they admitted they were involved as the statue of a slave trader ended up in Bristol Harbour.
“They argued the statue itself was a “hate crime” and, obviously, the jury agreed with them.
“This, of course, means the statue of Sir Winston Churchill which stands in London’s Parliament Square will soon be at the bottom of the Thames. And that there’s not a damn thing anyone can do to stop that happening.
“And then what?” Jeremy questioned.
“There’s no doubt the Bible has some strong things to say about homosexuality, which means the existence of churches is a hate crime as well.
“So if I go into London tomorrow with a wrecking ball and knock down St Paul’s Cathedral, is that OK?”
He added: “Or what about Jeremy Corbyn?
“Lots of what he says is hateful, so can I push him in a canal?
“Let’s hope so.”
The charges were thrown out in January and loud cheers erupted in the public gallery of Bristol Crown Court.
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Speaking outside court after being acquitted, Rhian Graham said: “We just want to say thank you to so many people because we have never been alone in this journey.
“We have been so supported and we are such a small part of this.
“There were so many people that day. So many people reverberating across the world in response to it [the statue’s toppling].”
Sage Willoughby also denied they were trying to edit history, but explained others were “whitewashing history” by calling Colston a “virtuous man”.
“We didn’t change history, we rectified it,” he stated.
“This is a victory for Bristol, this is a victory for racial equality and it’s a victory for anybody who wants to be on the right side of history.”
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