Statue of colonial-era King Leopold II removed in Belgium amid Black Lives Matter protests
A statue of Belgium’s notorious colonialist King Leopold II has been removed from its location in Antwerp to be relocated to a museum, days after it was defaced with graffiti amid worldwide Black Lives Matter protests.
A spokesman for Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever said the Leopold statue will now “become part of the museum collection” and "because of the renovation work planned for 2023 in the square in which it was placed, the statue will not be replaced.”
The monument, which stood beside a church in the Ekeren district, was targeted by demonstrators at the weekend as protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd by police in the US continue to rage around the world. Protesters defaced the monument with red paint and set it on fire.
The statue has long been controversial in the city, given Leopold’s brutal treatment of people he ruled in the Congo Free State, now the Democratic Republic of Congo.