Statues that represent oppression have long been targets of activists around the globe. And that bullseye has grown more and more as the oppressed become vocal about issues past and present.
Earlier this week, the Belgian port city of Antwerp, took down a statue of late King Leopold II. Just days after protesters defaced the statue with spray paint.
Leopold is recognized as one of the most brutal and ambitious figures of the 19th century. He is cited as one of many European exploiters of the continent of Africa. Mainly due to his record of brutal colonial rule in Belgium’s former central African colonies.
Leopold II was King of Belgium for more than 40 years, from 1865 to 1909. Where it is documented that he is the cousin of Queen Victoria, and ruled at a time when Europeans were colonizing and ultimately conquering other parts of the world.
The mistreatment of Blacks is a particularly cruel part of colonization that has historically left countries riddled with oppression. And this statue represented similar feelings for citizens of all races and countries.
Johan Vermant, a spokesman for Antwerp’s mayor Bart de Wever, said: “The statue was seriously vandalised last week and needs to be restored by the Middelheim sculpture museum.” While others agreed this was a necessary step to improve newly grown racial tensions.