FACT CHECK: Viral Image Claims To Show US Protesters Throwing A Statue Into Water

Aislinn Murphy | Fact Check Editor

An image shared on Facebook over 3,200 times purportedly shows U.S. protesters throwing a statue into the water.

Verdict: False

The photo actually depicts U.K. anti-racism protesters pushing a statue of a slave trader into Bristol Harbor.

Fact Check:

The claim that the photo being shared shows protesters in the U.S. throwing a statue into a body of water has circulated in recent weeks amid worldwide anti-racism protests sparked after George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died in Minneapolis police custody in late May. During demonstrations in the U.S., multiple statues have been defaced or torn down by protesters, according to The Atlantic.

“I don’t want to know ‘Why mobs are tearing down America’s monuments,'” reads the caption of the image. “I would rather know ‘Why are we letting them?'” (RELATED: Viral Post Claims A COVID-19 Mobile Testing Truck Bears The Symbol Of The Egyptian God Anubis)

However, the image does not depict a statue being thrown into water in the U.S. Through a reverse image search, the Daily Caller discovered that it comes from a Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol, England. Photographer Ben Birchall took the photo, available on the website AP Images, for the Press Association on June 7, according to the caption.

“Black Lives Matter protests,” reads the AP Images caption. “Protesters throw statue of Edward Colston into Bristol harbour during a Black Lives Matter protest rally, in memory of George Floyd who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis. Picture date: Sunday June 7, 2020.”

BBC News published a video of the statue being toppled the following day, and Reuters has footage of it later being removed from Bristol Harbor. The statue in the photo depicts Edward Colston, who was a “17th-century trader who made a fortune transporting enslaved Africans across the Atlantic to the Americas on Bristol-based ships,” according to The Associated Press.

There was a statue of Black Lives Matter activist Jen Reid briefly installed without city approval on the plinth that held the Colston statue, The Guardian reported. The statue, created by artist Marc Quinn, was later removed.

Bristol City Council said the sculpture would be “held at our museum for the artist to collect or donate to our collection,” according to The Associated Press.

Aislinn Murphy

Fact Check Editor
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