Report By: Nandika Chand | Last Updated June 12, 2020
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the anti-racism protests have been hijacked by extremists intent on violence. He called out the protesters for targeting the famous statue of Winston Churchill outside the parliament last weekend. Johnson described this incident as “absurd and shameful”.
“The statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square is a permanent reminder of his achievement in saving this country and the whole of Europe from a facist and racist tyranny,” the prime minister tweeted. “Yes, he sometimes expressed opinions that were and are unacceptable to us today, but he was a hero, and he fully deserves his memorial.”
Johnson argued that removing statues of controversial figures is to lie about our history. “We all understand the legitimate feelings of outrage at what happened in Minnesota and the legitimate desire to protest against discrimination. Whatever progress this country has made in fighting racism and it has been huge, we all recognise that there is much more work to do,” he said.
The British PM opposed campaigns to remove statues and monuments honouring slave-owners and imperialist figures following the toppling of a statue of Edward Colston in Bristol on Sunday. “We cannot now try to edit or censor our past. We cannot pretend to have a different history,” Johnson said. “The statues in our cities and towns were put up by previous generations. They had different perspectives, different understandings of right and wrong. But those statues teach us about our past, with all its faults.”
Johnson said to tear the statues down would be to lie about the history and improverish the education of generations to come.