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    Leopold II statue defaced at Africa Museum

    Credit: Belga

    A statue of Leopold II in the garden of the Africa Museum in Tervuren was defaced, VRT reported Thursday evening. 

    Other statues of the former Belgian king had already been vandalized in Halle, Ostend, Ghent and Ekeren.

    The statue in Ekeren was set on fire on Wednesday night after having been smeared in red paint last weekend. The bust in Ghent was also covered in red paint and marked ‘I can’t breathe,’ the final words of George Floyd, an unarmed black man whose death at the hands of US police has sparked nationwide uprisings over police brutality and systemic racism.

    Leopold II is criticised for his reign of terror in the Congo in the 19th century, when the territory belonged to him personally.

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    On Monday, a petition was launched demanding the removal of all statues of the former ruler from the City of Brussels. The petition already has over 38,500 signatures.

    Criticism of Leopold II and his policy in the Congo was rekindled with the death of George Floyd and the massive protests that followed.

    These protests are occurring not only in the United States. After a small Black Lives Matter demonstration in Brussels on Monday, the option of a larger protest on Sunday is being explored, though Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès has reminded people that demonstrations are still not allowed.

    Wilmès has called on the City of Brussels to find an alternative for Sunday’s march, which over 6,000 people indicated on Facebook that they would attend.

    Jason Spinks
    The Brussels Times