As Wikipedia noted:
Edward Colston (2 November 1636 – 11 October 1721) was a Bristol-born English merchant, philanthropist, slave trader, and Member of Parliament. He supported and endowed schools, almshouses, hospitals and churches in Bristol, London, and elsewhere, and his name is commemorated in several Bristol landmarks, streets, three schools, and the Colston bun. Many of his charitable foundations still survive. A significant part of his wealth was acquired through the trade and exploitation of slaves
Until this afternoon a statue to his memory stood, quite extraordinarily, in Bristol.
It does not any more:
— Bristol24/7 (@bristol247) June 7, 2020
The statue ended up in the river:
— BBC Radio Bristol (@bbcrb) June 7, 2020
Such symbolic actions are, of course, known during revolutions. They are not too common otherwise. But the time for a revolution on the issue of racial discrimination has arrived. The symbolism of what happened is appropriate.
I would also add something else. This morning I mentioned that we are now in the next stage of a phoney war and that we may well be in a lull before a storm. I mentioned the reasons why this storm might break. Economically I am sorry that Black Lives Matter campaigns will probably not have a significant short term impact, although in the longer term I hope the changes will be substantial. But what actions like this one suggest is that the mood in the country is far from quiet. If it's a hot summer for the government to keep public order in the face of mass disquiet on a great many issues may be very hard.
PS at 17.40pm: I also note this tweet posted in reaction by eminent legal commentator David Allen Green:
Yes, criminal damage is a crime, but some crimes - even if in the public interest to prosecute - should receive an absolute discharge, with no conviction recorded at all
— david allen green (@davidallengreen) June 7, 2020