Charleroi provides context for 'glory of colonial veterans' statue

Charleroi provides context for 'glory of colonial veterans' statue
Charleroi city hall. Credit: Wikipedia

The city of Charleroi is putting up a poster to contextualise a statue erected "to the glory of colonial veterans" in the middle of its city hall, said city councillor Xavier Desgain on Monday evening.

The statue has previously been subject to controversy; Desgain explained that the text on the poster had been decided by a working group set up to consider the issue, reports Belga News Agency.

The poster contextualises the statue and emphasises the hard reality of colonialism and Belgium's role in it.

In 2020, the Workers' party (PTB) campaigned to have the statue removed from the city hall entirely, but the local council voted against that proposal and instead opted to explain the history of its inspiration and inception.

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Around the same time, several petitions were launched to remove all statues of Leopold II in Brussels and other big cities. A taskforce was subsequently set up to decide on how to deal with the presence of colonial symbols in the public space.

On Monday, local PTB city councillor Germain Mugemangango pointed out the delays in the contextualisation of the statue and expressed his disappointment at the fact that the text was on a poster and not on a commemorative plaque.

Desgain stated that he would look into ways to give the text a more definitive form and to invite associations working on providing information about colonisation in Charleroi and Belgium for a commemorative moment.

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