Winston Churchill statue uncovered ahead of French President’s visit today

  • london
  • June 18, 2020
  • Comments Off on Winston Churchill statue uncovered ahead of French President’s visit today

Pictures show a statue of Winston Churchill which was targeted by protesters being uncovered ahead of a visit by the French president later today.

The statue, in Parliament Square, Westminster, was boarded up for protection after it was covered in graffiti calling him a racist during a Black Lives Matter protest earlier this month.

It comes as French president Emmanuel Macron is due to arrive in London today to mark the 80th anniversary of a speech by General Charles de Gaulle, who led French forces, asking the population to resist the German occupation of France during the Second World War.

Monuments to Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi nearby will remain behind protective screens.

They were covered ahead of far-right demonstrations on Saturday, which saw violent clashes with police near the Palace of Westminster and Trafalgar Square.

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said the uncoverings will ‘remain under review’ by the Greater London Authority and the Metropolitan Police.

Mr Macron will be welcomed to London with a ceremonial Guard of Honour from the Coldstream Guards at Clarence House and a flypast by the RAF’s Red Arrows alongside their French counterparts, La Patrouille de France.

General Charles de Gaulle’s rallying call was broadcast on the BBC in June 1940, when he said: ‘I call upon all Frenchmen who want to remain free to listen to my voice and follow me.’

Mr Khan was forced to defend his decision to cover Churchill’s statue in Parliament Square after criticism from the Home Secretary.

She told the Daily Mail: ‘We should free Churchill, a hero of our nation, who fought against fascism and racism in this country and Europe.

‘He has given us the freedom to live our lives the way we do today. We have seen the desecration of war memorials, which is thoroughly unacceptable. Now we’re seeing a national hero being boarded up.’

And the Prime Minister used an article in the Daily Telegraph to defend the statue and warn against attempts to ‘photoshop’ Britain’s cultural landscape.

He lauded Churchill as ‘one of the country’s greatest ever leaders’, saying it was the ‘height of lunacy’ to accuse him of racism.

‘I will resist with every breath in my body any attempt to remove that statue from Parliament Square, and the sooner his protective shielding comes off the better,’ he wrote.

However, Mr Khan said the decision to protect the statues in Parliament Square was a ‘wise’ precaution, fearing they could become a ‘flashpoint for violence’ involving extreme far-right protesters.

Those attending Saturday’s demonstration claimed to be guarding the statue of Winston Churchill as well as the Cenotaph.

English Heritage said the boards around the Cenotaph were taken down on Monday night.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.