What is really strange about this tale is that every protestor was given an order by police officers and every protester complied with the order, yet was arrested nonetheless. The two who chalked 'Support the Colston Four' and 'Let Justice Prevail' were arrested on criminal damage grounds, then de-arrested, and re-arrested from breach of COVID19 Regulations - which they were clearly not on breach of, as they were wearing facemasks, and maintaining physical distance. All four were issued with fines. The Bristol Magistrates Court cleared them and awarded costs and compensation to the four protestors.
Reclaim These Streets and the Sarah Everard Vigil
I also added a verse about the High Court Case on behalf of 'Reclaim These Streets', which affirmed that COVID19 regulations could not be used to ban protests. We all know about the events at the Vigil for Sarah Everard. The facts that the police tried to ban the vigil on COVID19 Regulation grounds, even though Reclaim These Streets had made provision for a COVID19 safe event, with stewarding, physical distancing, PA system so no need to shout, etc was said by the court to be a misuse of the COVID19 Regulation.
The London Met withdrew from the case, and offered to support the vigil, and then dropped that offer. The Reclaim These Streets people were forced then to call off the official vigil. London Met was aware that citizens would gather anyway. They did and it was by all accounts well organised, respectful, COVID19 secure. The police waited until after dark to move in on the Bandstand, and physically removed some of the women who were occupying it.
Here is the interim judgement from the High Court asserting that the COVID19 Regulations did not amount to the right to ban protests.
Sonny Curtiss and The Clash
Here is the track on Soundcloud, downloadable as a CD quality .wav file.
Here is the track on Reverbnation, downloadable as a 192k .mp3 file.
Both links go to the song page on their respective sites, you will need to download from there.
The Colston Four were on trial
for toppling the slavers statue
people came by to support
outside Bristol Magistrates Court
Mr Larsen on his bike and trailer, playing reggae music
at a safe distance, for the defendants in the trial,
bringing a big,big, big smile
officer told him he could not stay, agreed he could cycle past on the road.
Larsen was arrested on the spot
breach of coronavirus rules he was told
"I was in a safe place, I wasn’t endangering
anyone’s health, wasn’t posing a risk
I wasn’t going to be spreading no infection, you know I'm not that sick!"
He fought the Law and he won! They fought the Law and they won!
Mr Dye, a retired teacher, had education in mind
stood on the court steps, with his sign
"Slave trade. Arms trade. Bristol wake up!”
officer said 'move on', Mr. Dye he agreed
but he was arrested as he tried to walk away.
He fought the law, and he won! They fought the law, and they won!
Ms Richardson, A gardener, came to plant some seeds
"Support the Colston Four" she chalked on the sidewalk
Ros Martin, the artist then arrived,
“Let justice prevail.” she chalked on the pavement
when ordered to leave they complied,
yet they were arrested side by side
for criminal damage, then de-arrested, and
re-arrested for breach of the Covid rules.
They fought the Law and they won! They fought the Law and they won!
Jessica, Anna, Henna and Jamie went to the high court to clarify
Corona Safety Laws cannot be applied
to ban protest, that is misuse of the law.
London Met accepted, but would not help out
they broke into the vigil, which Priti gave the shout
They fought the law and they won! They fought the Law and they won!
And yes, Colston was a slaver, he caused immense harm and that harm is harm that cannot be undone and thus cannot be set aside due the logically fallacious argument that it was part of 'mores of the times' and we ought to consider Colston's philanthropy as mitigation.
That's a ludicrous argument, without merit.
More information has been passed my way via the Bristol Radical History group.
In this rather superb article, the BRH folk looked at The Colston Statue and it's history and unveil myths within myths, and unearthed some astonishing insights.
One of which is the general working public of Bristol refused to fund the making and erection of the Statue. Another is that it represents an early form of the current NeoLiberalist cult of the individual, and the right or entitlement of wealthy individuals charity to assume moral superiority - in essence those who impoverish the community by doling out limited alms retain an authoritarian and spiritual position of superiority to the mass.
The article highlights how important an accurate and honest history really is. The statue topplers were correct to topple it: such a characterisation and ritualised celebration of venal avarice has no place in a healthy 21st century city.
Rees-Moggs comments on the goodness of food banks ignores the depravity of venal avarice among his peers that created the need in the first place:
Rees-Mogg is someone who needs toppling from his lofty position, quite clearly.
Another example of the 'benefits' accrued by the Wealthy in praising publicly the appearances of charity rather than undertaking any genuine change in the conditions the created the need in the first place.
From the BRH article :
And so it goes. More than statues need to be toppled in 21st Century England.
"Do what you love, it is your gift to universe."