The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service has announced four people will face charges of criminal damage after they tore down a statue of a historical figure linked with the slave trade during Black Lives Matter protests in the summer.
The four are due to appear at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on January 25, prosecutors said on Wednesday.
“The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against all four are now active and that they have the right to a fair trial,” a spokesman said, warning against reporting or commentary which could “in any way prejudice these proceedings.”
The bronze state commemorating the 17th century merchant Edward Colston, who was closely associated with the slave trade, was pulled down during a Black Lives Matter (BLM) protest on June 7.
Bristol City Council later recovered the statue after it was thrown into the harbour. The events reportedly caused £3,750 ($5024) worth of damage.
No arrests were at the time, although Avon and Somerset Police launched an investigation.
Videos taken at the scene show dozens of people gathering around Bristol Harbour to watch the disposal of the statue.
The incident was part of a spate of activism across the UK earlier this year, largely inspired by the BLM movement in the US, with Bristol, a city built on the revenues of transatlantic commerce, one of the focal points of protests.
A number of buildings and organisations in Bristol, including an independent school, still bear the name of Colston, who was also a Member of Parliament and philanthropist.
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