A bust of Léopold II which had been dismantled during the night of Wednesday through to Thursday, by an anti-colonial group, was found on Saturday. It was found in a thicket within the same park by teams from Brussels Environment, part of Brussels City Council. This was indicated on Saturday by the RTBF.
The bust was not damaged and it reappeared following a video by the Mayor of the commune, Marc-Jean Ghyssels. He had launched an “appeal to find the bust.” It should therefore be back in its rightful place within a month or two.
The theft of the bust was perpetrated by an anti-colonial collective known as the Citizen Associtation for “Decolonisation” of Public Spaces (known as the “ACED”). By means of a communiqué it justified its actions. “Honoured by the history books, Léopold II was himself, in particular, the perpetrator of a methodical undertaking involved in looting, and was responsible for several million deaths. This profoundly destroyed local societies. The seriousness of these crimes invalidates any approach aiming to publicly praise his actions in other spheres.
In the past, activists have regularly taken or defaced statues of this controversial monarch. The statue of Léopold II on a horse, on the Place du Trône in Brussels, was thus daubed with red paint in 2008, 2013 and 2015.
In 2017, another statue of the second King of Belgium, in Mons, was covered in photos of the colonial atrocities. In 2004, the hand of a statue of Léopold II, built upon the sea wall in Ostend, was cut off in protest against his colonial policy in the Congo.