Please enjoy these memes on the slave trader statue toppled in Bristol

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Hamilton, 35, has actively supported the Black Lives Matter movement, calling out his own sport's initial silence over the killing of Floyd, who died after a white United States police officer knelt on his neck last month.

After the statue was toppled, a protester was pictured with his knee on the figure's neck - reminiscent of the video showing George Floyd being restrained by a Minnesota police officer.

According to Historic England, the statue was sculpted by John Cassidy, of Manchester, with an inscription that read "erected by citizens of Bristol as a memorial of one of the most virtuous and wise sons of their city AD 1895".

Colston, who was born in 1636 to a wealthy merchant family, became prominently involved in England's sole official slaving company at the time, Royal African Co., of which Bristol was at the heart.

"Whilst I am disappointed that people would damage one of our statues, I do understand why it's happened, it's very symbolic", police chief Andy Bennett said on BBC television.

It is believed to have sold around 100,000 west Africans in the Caribbean and the Americas between 1672 and 1689.

The protesters, inspired by America's George Floyd demonstrations, screamed and howled as the bronze statue of 17th-century Edward Colston came toppling down.

For someone who died almost three centuries ago, Edward Colston has become a symbol for the Black Lives Matter movement in Britain.

Police have launched a criminal damage investigation into what happened to the statue, which has always been a source of controversy in the city where it has been situated since 1895.

"That speaks to the acts of public disorder that actually have now become a distraction from the cause which the people are actually protesting about", Patel told Sky News.

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"Edward Colston was a monster who bought, sold and traded Africans, human beings, and forced them into slavery until they died".

He rose as a philanthropist after donating to schools, hospitals and other organisations in Bristol and London.

Protesters dragged the large statue down towards Bristol Harbour, where it was stood up and then rolled into the water.

In Bristol, BLM protestors focused their anger on the statue of Edward Colston.

Since the statue's journey into the drink, protestors have repurposed the remaining plinth as a site of remembrance for the lives taken by racist violence.

Williams underlines that the Colston statue's case epitomises "so numerous big questions we must confront in this country as so much of this country's riches gained in the past stem from the misery of others".

Some of the protesters said it was a Saddam Hussein moment, echoing the ecstasy that drove a Baghdad crowd to pull down the dictator's statue in 2003 after US-led troops seized the city.

The Guardian newspaper said a local petition to remove the statue had gathered 11,000 signatures by the weekend.

Leading Bristol music venue Colston Hall, which has hosted concerts from Louis Armstrong to The Beatles, said Sunday's protests had spurred it to speed up a plan to change its name.

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