Black Lives Matter protest delayed

Thursday June 11th 2020

Melville-Monument

The Melville Monument in St Andrew Square


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Noa Hoffman

A second Black Lives Matter protest planned for this weekend has been postponed by a week to ensure attendees from last Saturday’s demonstration have had 14 days to self-isolate.

Originally scheduled for midday this Saturday, the second Black Lives Matter protest will now take place at St Andrew Square on Saturday, June 20.

Over 300 people have expressed an interest in going to the protest on Facebook. Attendees have been asked to wear all black attire and bring banners, flags and signs. Organisers have also asked that masks and gloves are worn and that attendees adhere to social distancing rules standing two metres apart.

This particular protest will focus on the city’s statues and landmarks commemorating historical figures with links to the slave trade.

While Edinburgh City Council leader Adam McVey confirmed that a plaque will shortly be erected by the Melville Monument outlining Henry Dundas’ ties to slavery, protest organisers do not believe the council is doing enough to address the issue of its statues.

Accomplished local musician and one of the protest’s organisers Joseph Malik said:

“This protest is about the statue of a mass killer who killed thousands of Africans and up held the block on slavery for another 15 years, which killed thousands more as confirmed by Sir Geoff Palmer. Does Germany have statues of Hitler? No. The slave master as we call him lined his pockets with the blood of our people and this is Scotland’s shame, which must be addressed. As one of the main spokesmen for the Black Lives Matter movement, I’m not happy with some wee silly bit of wood telling us of his crimes. We want this taken down; this is a symbol of evil to us.”

He added:

“The SNP has not done enough to get our vote. We want the statue taken down, why have a symbol of a mass killer in the centre of this great city? Dundas killed just as many people as Hitler did and the city leaders must be shamed into dealing with this. I will not rest until they deal with this. The council has not done enough and it has all been a case of too little too late.

Another of the protest’s organisers, Luke Samuels, said:

“I feel I owe it to my ancestors who were slaves to protest for their injustice. It doesn’t matter what good Henry Dundas has done; it doesn’t give him the right to be up there on a 150-foot memorial. When I walk past that statue, I think about what my ancestors had to endure. It makes me feel sick and I get goose bumps.

“Some people are saying we should keep the statue up and put a plaque there but that’s not enough. He does not deserve to be there. The protest to take down the statue will be very peaceful; I don’t at all condone violence. But the statue needs to be taken down, the council has to act on this.”

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