Prime Minister Boris Johnson slams ‘shameful’ vandalism and targeting of Churchill statue following Black Lives Matter protests

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said it is "absurd and shameful" that the statue of Sir Winston Churchill in Parliament Square was at risk of attack from anti-racism protesters.

By Dominic Scurr
Friday, 12th June 2020, 1:35 pm
Updated Friday, 12th June 2020, 1:35 pm
A worker cleans the Churchill statue in Parliament Square that had been spray-painted with the words 'was a racist' on June 08, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
A worker cleans the Churchill statue in Parliament Square that had been spray-painted with the words 'was a racist' on June 08, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Speaking after the memorial was boarded up to protect it ahead of more planned weekend demonstrations, the Prime Minister said on Twitter: "We cannot now try to edit or censor our past."

A protective box was placed around the statue of the former premier, who led Britain during the Second World War struggle against the Nazis, after it was targeted during Black Lives Matter protests last weekend.

It was vandalised with the words "Was a racist", while the Cenotaph, which has also now been protected with hoarding, was also targeted.

A statue of Lord Kitchener in Chatham, Kent. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday June 12, 2020. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

The protests, sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in the US, saw clashes between protesters and police in London, while in Bristol a statue of Edward Colston was pulled down and dumped in the harbour.

The UK Prime Minister said: "The statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square is a permanent reminder of his achievement in saving this country - and the whole of Europe - from a fascist and racist tyranny.

"It is absurd and shameful that this national monument should today be at risk of attack by violent protesters.

"Yes, he sometimes expressed opinions that were and are unacceptable to us today, but he was a hero, and he fully deserves his memorial."

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