Four Britons were acquitted in court of overthrowing the statue of slave trader Edward Colston during a demonstration in 2020.
A statue of Colston was overturned in Bristol, England in June 2020 and later dumped in the River Avon. It happened during a Black lives matter demonstration in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in the USA last year.
Four people were arrested for the act. They were charged with damage in the trial that started in Bristol on December 13 last year. Wednesday, the verdict falls.
None of the accused were found guilty of the crime, writes The Guardian.
During the trial, the defendants did not dispute their actions, but justified them by pointing out that the statue of the slave trader was offensive. They stated that they were motivated by anti-racist attitudes and expressed frustration that attempts to remove the statue had not been successful, the newspaper writes.
The prosecution, for its part, claimed that the fact that Colston was a slave trader was “completely irrelevant”, and said the case was about “cold, hard facts” and “the rule of law”.
Colston was a leading figure in the Royal Africa Company, which transported many slaves from Africa. Several institutions in Bristol that previously bore Colston’s name have changed their name after the demonstrations.
The statue was picked up by the river and is now on display with posters from the demonstration and an explanation of what happened to it.