The Black Lives Matter march in Bristol on 7 June 2020 was one of the biggest and liveliest in the city in years, with 5,000 people. The statue of slave trader Edward Colston was removed from its plinth and thrown into the river.
The Crown Prosecution Service has since pressed charges of “criminal damage”, and on 25 January four people faced a hearing at Bristol Magistrates’ court. Five others were given cautions with bizarre conditions.
After police pressure — using lockdown laws — organisers of a solidarity demonstration moved it online, with over 150 participating. Swarms of police gathered around the court. A small number of people did protest in person; most were “moved on”, and four detained.
The accused pleaded not guilty, requested trial by jury not magistrate, and have had their case adjourned.
The labour movement should stand in solidarity with them, demanding that the charges be dropped.