The woman who demolished the Colston statue slammed the Tory “war on woke.”

The woman who demolished the Colston statue slammed the Tory “war on woke.”

Last summer, during a Black Lives Matter protest, Rhian Graham was acquitted of criminal damage.

Milo Ponsford, 26, Sage Willoughby, 22, and Jake Skuse, 33, were found not guilty after an 11-day trial at Bristol Crown Court.

In response, some government ministers have joined the ‘culture war'.
Mme Graham, 30, has denounced the ‘demonization' of youth.

It is a weak attempt to invent yet another fictional opponent to blame everything on, she told The Guardian.

Right-wingers have adopted the term ‘woke' to demonise young people who care about equality and making the world a better place.
The verdict provoked a debate about the criminal justice system, notwithstanding the defendants' denials.

‘Damaging things to be heard and advance with equality and a better society is not new,' Ms Graham told Times Radio.

‘I, as a woman, would not have the right to vote if suffragettes had not smashed windows and damaged postboxes.

‘This isn't new.'

‘We have obviously gone through the legal system. I know many argue it was not democratic.

‘Our freedom of speech and jury trials are democratic. And one of our lawyers said that they are the two pillars of our democracy. And what isn't democratic is the police violence that has enraged the BLM movement.'

The bronze statue of the 17th century figure was rolled into the water during a protest in Bristol on June 7, 2020.

Ms Graham said she wanted to ‘show support' for black people in the UK, and that lockdown allowed her to do so.

Solicitor General Suella Braverman said the verdict is producing ‘confusion' and she is exploring whether to invoke review powers.

This would be ‘Trumpian politics', according to some lawyers, and would damage public confidence in the legal system.
Opponents encouraged Mme Braverman not to ‘play political games'.

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees claimed the Colston Four's acquittal was 'less significant' for the city than the defendants.

‘In some respects, their futures faced a fork in the road,' he told Sky's Trevor Phillips on Sunday.

‘It is less meaningful for the work on race inequality in Bristol since we are looking at the underlying drivers of political and economic disparity.'

The judgement itself does not address these pressing issues.'

Mr Rees added that ‘symbolic measures' like removing the Edward Colston statue should not replace ‘real, meaningful systemic change'.

‘If we look around in five years, nothing has changed,' he said, expressing gratitude that the statue had been removed. “Oh, those were just acts, those were just performances,” we say, pointing to the past.

‘We have to be very cautious with these issues.'

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