A large memorial to former British monarch Queen Victoria has been vandalised with slogans including “Black Lives Matter”, “murderer”, and “slag”.
The vandalism — merely the latest in a sudden and intense trend to have swept the United Kingdom in just a few days — was visited upon a statue and pedestal in Leeds, England, which portrayed the 19th-century female monarch, and was built with allegorical statues depicting peace and industry.
Messages on the statue include “slave owner”, “murderer”, “rapist”, whore”, “slag”, “racist”, among other accusations, reports Leeds Live. At the base of the memorial, “Black Lives Matters” and “!!!educate” have been scrawled. The hands, faces, and genitals of one of the remaining allegorical statues were also coloured in. Queen Victoria did not own slaves, and lives during a time where slavery had already been banned by the British government.
A statue of Queen Victoria in Woodhouse Moor, Leeds has been defaced with graffiti including the words ‘slave owner’ and ‘murderer’.
Other graffiti, including justice BLM and Black Lives Matter, has also been sprayed on and around the monument. pic.twitter.com/sk9EGI3yZl
— BBC Yorkshire (@BBCLookNorth) June 9, 2020
While campaigns to destroy monuments have portrayed themselves as grassroots movements to right historical wrongs, the tradition of public memorials in the United Kingdom is very often that statues were paid for by the public, voluntarily, and not imposed from above. Such is the case with the Leeds Victoria, which was built in 1905 to immortalise the memory of the recently deceased Queen and paid for by a public subscription campaign.
The statue originally stood outside Leeds town hall but was moved to a park in the 1930s to clear space.
Queen Victoria herself presided over an era of unprecedented scientific progress, rising living standards for people in the United Kingdom, and during a period in which slavery was illegal, also oversaw a significant expansion of the British Empire.
While the British Empire led the first major movement in history to abolish slavery for good, spending huge amounts of money to free slaves and to provide warships to hunt down slave traders, the Empire is nevertheless perceived by leftist activists in 2020 as universally bad, and Queen Victoria as Empress now a target for erasure.
Ironically for 21st-century perspectives on the Empire, the spreading of British political and military influence in Africa during the 19th century often came hand-in-hand with, and was sometimes caused by, efforts to force the end of the slave trade. In some cases, British forces even went to war with African regional kings who refused to sign treaties banning slavery.
The vandalism follows, by days, the destruction of a statue of a Georgian-era merchant, Edward Colston, who profited from a company that owned and traded slaves. Protesters in Bristol pulled the statue down before rolling it into the city’s harbour.
A list of nationwide target statues for left-wing activists was subsequently published, featuring dozens of memorials to historic figures. One of those fell within hours of the list being published, as Labour-controlled London authorities gave the green light for the removal the statue of another Georgian era merchant.
Within hours of a petition being launched to see the statue removed, workmen with a backhoe-digger arrived and hoisted the 200-year-old bronze from its plinth.
Khan’s London: Historic Statue Pulled Down to Appease Leftist Protests https://t.co/u6RdttMPQm
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 9, 2020