The city is strewn with tributes to the great of the British empire. The devastation they wreaked is routinely forgotten
The toppling of Edward Colston certainly made for a dramatic scene. The frantic energy of large crowds cheering while the statue plunged into the river in Bristol signalled the release of pent-up tension accumulated during a pandemic and widespread anti-racism protests.
Within 48 hours, Oxford was seized by the same zeal. More than 1,000 people gathered on the city’s high street to call for the removal of the statue commemorating the notorious Victorian imperialist Cecil John Rhodes. It was a coordinated, peaceful and impassioned protest about the statue and about structural racism in Britain.