Statue of late Belgian king pulled down during protest triggered by George Floyd’s death
A statue of Leopold II, king of Belgium, was taken down in Antwerp after it was defaced by protesters on Tuesday.

Leopold was king of the Belgians from 1865 to 1909.

During his rule, he oversaw a genocide in the Congo in which over 10 million Africans were reportedly killed.

The statue was targetted amid global anti-racism protests following the killing of George Floyd, a black American citizen.

Floyd died on May 25, after an arrest by a Minneapolis officer, who pinned him to the ground for several minutes by kneeling on his neck.

He was buried on Tuesday.

Leopold was in charge of the Belgian Congo, now the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), from 1885 to 1908 and reportedly subjected its people to forced labour while he exploited the country’s rubber reserves.

According to historians, many workers in the rubber plantations were killed or maimed while Leopold amassed a huge personal fortune from their work. Several of Leopold’s statues have been defaced around Belgium most of which were sprayed with red paint. Johan Vermant, a spokesman for Bart de Wever, Antwerp mayor, reportedly said the city’s statue was taken down to be repaired but said it is unlikely it would be returned to its public pedestal. “Because of the renovation work planned for 2023 in the square in which it was placed, the statue will not be replaced. It will probably become part of the museum collection,” he was quoted to have said. Some other late public figures considered to have been in support of racism have also had their statues brought down or defaced during the protests. The statue of Edward Colston, an English merchant and slave trader, was brought down and tossed into the harbour in south-west England’s Bristol. In Richmond, the statues of confederate general, Robert Lee, and confederacy president, Jefferson Davis, both said to be defenders of slavery, were defaced with “blood on your hands,” “black lives matter” and “no more white supremacy” inscriptions.