Great Britain

George Floyd statue unveiled at Newark City Hall in New Jersey weighs 700 pounds

A bronze statue of George Floyd has been unveiled in Newark, New Jersey, weighing almost 700 pounds.

Officials say it will stay for at least a year in front of Newark's City Hall, where it was officially unrelieved in a ceremony on Wednesday.

The city’s mayor, Ras Baraka, said he hoped it would inspire residents in the fight for racial justice, after a wave of anti-racism demonstrations following Mr Floyd’s murder in May 2020.

“George Floyd represents a lot more than himself at this juncture in history,” said Mr Baraka of Mr Floyd.

“Hopefully when people walk by it and they see it…hopefully it inspires them to become active in the struggles that are happening right here in Newark and right here in New Jersey.”

Leon Pickney, who commissioned and donated the statue, and artist Stanley Watts, also took part in the ceremony on Wednesday, NJ.com reported.

Mr Pickney said it would serve as a reminder of the ongoing calls for racial justice across the US.

“The statue was to cause them to remember why they marched during such a horrific pandemic and I didn’t want them to go back to a status quo,” he said of last year’s demonstrations.

“The world needed a peaceful George,” said Mr Watts, who sculpted the bronze statue showing Mr Floyd sitting on a park bench.

“The world needed him relaxed and chilling on a bench and that’s what we produced and we produced him larger than life, because after death, George will be remembered.”

The ceremony was held to coincide with Juneteenth, the day marking the end of slavery in the US States.

Mr Floyd was murdered in May 2020 by Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin, who pinned his neck down for over nine minutes over a counterfeit bill.

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