Hamilton calls for worldwide removal of statues of slave owners

Reigning Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has called on governments across the world to copy the example of the protesters who tore down a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol at the weekend.

The controversial Colston statue had stood since 1895 and his name is attached to numerous buildings in the British city. While he was known for his philanthropy across the town, Colston amassed a large percentage of his wealth through the selling of tens of thousands of slaves in the 1600s and early 1700s.

On Sunday, protesters pulled the statue from its base and dropped it in the city’s river, the Avon.

Hamilton praised the demonstrators and said governments across the world should follow the example they had set.

Across three posts to his Instagram story, Hamilton wrote: “Slave trader Edward Colston statue pulled down!!! Our country honoured a man who sold African slaves!

“All statues of racist men who made money from selling a human being should be torn down! Which one is next?

“I challenge government officials worldwide to make these changes and implement the peaceful removal of these racist symbols.

“If those people hadn’t taken down that statue, honouring a racist slave trade, it would never have been removed. There’s talks of it going into a museum. That man’s statue should stay in the river just like the 20 thousand African souls who died on the journey here and thrown into the sea, with no burial or memorial. He stole them from their families, 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!”

Hamilton has been outspoken throughout the Black Lives Matter movement, which has risen to prominence since George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis. Hamilton called out the “white dominated” world of F1 for its silence on the matter, prompting a number of his fellow drivers to make public statements condemning racism.

Floyd, who was black, died last month after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. Chauvin, who was since been fired, was initially charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. A charge of unintentional second-degree murder was also added last week.