Great Britain

Sadiq Khan spent £30,000 on boarding up statues including one of Winston Churchill after Black Lives Matter protests

LONDON Mayor Sadiq Khan spent more than £30,000 boarding up statues to protect them during Black Lives Matter protests last month.

The Greater London Authority (GLA) - which is run by the Mayor - forked over the cash, including more than £10,000 to enclose one of Sir Winston Churchill.

Churchill's statue in Westminster was boarded up after it was daubed with graffiti which branded the wartime leader a "racist".

It came amid large-scale Black Lives Matter protests in the capital following the death of George Floyd in the US.

Freedom of Information requests reveal Mr Khan spent £10,147 putting hoarding around the statue of Churchill.

And then a further £21,115 was spent protecting statues of Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi.

The GLA said it also cost £3,050 to remove graffiti from around Paraliament and Trafalgar squares, reports the Daily Mail.

Churchill's statue was boxed up on June 12 for six days amid protests, causing outrage.

Releasing the figures, the GLA pointed out the statues have been boarded up before.

The last time Churchill's monument was clad in hoarding was ahead of the Million Mask March in 2017.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was "absurd and shameful" that the monument was at risk of attack.

He said Churchill was a hero who should be remembered for saving the country from the "fascist and racist tyranny" of the Nazis.

Black Lives Matter protests were largely peaceful but saw a small number of troublemakers.

Clashes broke out during the demonstrations between police and protesters amid the outpouring of anger last month of the death of Mr Floyd.

Numerous calls were made to pull down statues of historical figures linked to racism and slavery - including the removal of the monument to slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol.

Mr Khan defended his actions to protect the statues last months as a "wise" precaution after he came under attack from Priti Patel.

The Home Secretary accused the Labour mayor of failing to stand up to "thuggery" and demanded Britain's "national hero" was set free.

Mr Khan warned there were fears the statues could have become a "flashpoint for violence" involving extreme far-right thugs descending on London.

Black Lives Matter protesters put together a "hit list" of problematic statues they wanted removed - including the statue of Churchill.

Mr Johnson vowed to "fight to his last breath" to stop any effort to attempt to remove the statue.

He called for children to be taught about the “context” of Churchill’s views and actions.

The PM pointed out that Churchill started his career under Queen Victoria and ended it under Queen Elizabeth II, saying that the leader "generally changed [his view] with the times."

Mr Johnson said: "What I really want to do as Prime Minister is change the narrative so we stop the sense of victimisation and discrimination.

"We stamp out racism and we start to have a real sense of expectation of success.

"That's where I want to get to but it won't be easy."

He announced a new cross-government commission to look at "all aspects" of racial inequality in Britain in response to the protests.

Prince Harry ex-marine pal Ben McBean defends statue of Winston Churchill saying, 'It doesn't make any sense'

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