London, June 9 (IANS) Six-time formula one champion Lewis Hamilton has backed the protestors who pulled down the statue of a slaver, Edward Colston, in Bristol, United Kingdom.

Hamilton, who is the only black driver in Formula 1, has been outspoken in his support for protests in the UK and US following the death of George Floyd. He had last week called out his fellow F1 drivers to speak up against racism.

“If those people hadn’t taken down that statue honouring a racist slave trader, it would never have been removed,” Hamilton said in an Instagram post. “There’s talks of it going into a museum. That man’s statue should stay in the river just like the 20,000 African souls who died on the journey here and were thrown into the sea, with no burial or memorial.

“He stole them from their families, their country and he must not be celebrated. It should be replaced with a memorial for all those he sold, all those that lost their lives!”

Colston had bequeathed much of his wealth to Bristol after which the city built the statue in his honour. However, his fortune came from slave trade.

As part of the English Royal African Company, Colston transported more than 80,000 men, women and children from Africa to the Americas.

The toppling of the statue was criticised by Home Secretary Priti Patel who called the act “utterly disgraceful.”

–IANS

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