Photo by JONAS ROOSENS/Belga/AFP via Getty Images.
The statue of the colonialist, who murdered an estimated 10 million Congolese people during his rule, has been removed amid Black Lives Matter protests.
The BBC reports that Belgian authorities in Antwerp have removed the statue of King Leopold II from the city square, after it was reportedly vandalised amid the Black Lives Matter protests in the country. The statue has been removed with plans to restore it to its former condition, according to The Brussels Times. Often referred to as the "hidden holocaust", King Leopold II murdered an estimated 10 million Africans, in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), during his colonial rule.
<p><a href="https://www.okayafrica.com/black-lives-matter-african-writers-show-solidarity-in-open-letter/"></a><strong><em><a href="https://www.okayafrica.com/black-lives-matter-african-writers-show-solidarity-in-open-letter/" target="_blank">READ: African Writers Show Solidarity with Protesting Americans in Open Letter</a></em></strong></p><h1></h1><p><a href="https://www.brusselstimes.com/all-news/belgium-all-news/115940/burned-leopold-ii-statue-moves-to-antwerp-museum/" target="_blank"><strong>Johan Vermant</strong>, spokesperson for Antwerp Mayor <strong>Bart De Wever</strong> says that,</a>"The statue has been vandalised and will be removed and temporarily housed in the sculpture collection of the Middelheim Museum, where it will be restored." Vermant goes on to add that, "Since the square where the statue stood will be redesigned in 2023, and there will be no room for it afterwards, it will probably remain part of the museum's collection."</p><p>Admittedly, the reparations owed to the DRC by Belgium, as is the case with many colonised African countries, are long overdue. Last year, the European country finally <a href="https://www.okayafrica.com/belgium-apologizes-to-congo-rwanda-burundi-children-kidnapped-colonial-rule/" target="_self">issued a formal apology to the DRC for kidnapping and deporting their mixed-race children</a>, known as the <em>métis, </em>during the colonial era<em>––</em>an apology that only came after six decades. </p><p><div class="preroll-video"></div><ora-player></ora-player></p><p>The toppling of colonialist statues, on the other hand, is not a new phenomenon. Images and objects representing oppression have been the target of many uprisings and mass demonstrations. Back in 2015, South African students at the University of Cape Town <a href="https://www.okayafrica.com/rhodes-has-fallen-uct-university-of-cape-town-removes-cecil-rhodes-statue-photos/" target="_blank">toppled the statue of colonialist <strong>Cecil Rhodes</strong></a> during what was collectively defined as the "Fallist Era". </p><p>The fight against systemic racism across the world continues. While racist police establishments are at the heart of the Black Lives Matter protests in America, and now several other countries, <em>all</em> racist establishments and the symbols that represent them are being thrust into the spotlight––they simply must fall. </p>
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