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Bristol council has Black Lives Matter statue removed 24 hours after it was erected

The statue of a Black Lives Matter protester that had replaced slave trader Edward Colston was removed today morning by Bristol council, just 24 hours after it was erected.

The resin and steel sculpture of Bristolian Jen Reid was created by artist Mark Quinn and placed on the empty plinth on Wednesday morning in a secret operation. 

But today trucks arrived at the square to remove the figure. 

During the 24 hours the statue was up, hundreds of people flocked to the site to admire the city’s fleeting artwork and perform clenched-fist salutes by its side. 

Speaking today Ms Reid said the sculpture was about “making a stand for my mother, for my daughter, for black people like me," and had helped to keep the journey for racial justice moving. 

Green councillor and former lord mayor of Bristol Cleo Lake told the Morning Star that the statue had “made a big impact on continuing many discussions” in the city. 

“Beyond BLM it also opened a discussion about agency, democracy, action, activism and privilege,” she said. 

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees defended the removal of the artwork today, saying that the city was going through an “incredibly delicate time.” 

“This is not about taking down a statue of Jen, who is a very impressive woman,” Mr Rees told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“This is about taking down a statue of a London-based artist who came and put it up without permission.” 

Ms Lake added that the intervention should have been allowed to stay a little longer so more people could see it, but that she supported a “more inclusive way to present art and expression in the space.”

Bristol Council said the statue has been taken to a museum for Mr Quinn to collect. 

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