Winston Churchill’s bronze statue, which has stood in City Park since 2003, has been the target of vandalism since it was erected on the Churchill promenade. Just like the accompanying boardwalk sign and description plaque, the statue was spraypainted, covered in red paint, and scribbled on several times. This week, following worldwide demonstration against police brutality and systemic racism, the Churchill bust was once again graffitied with the inscriptions ‘BLM (Black Lives Matter)’ and ‘nazi.’
The statue has been damaged several times since its erection, just like the boardwalk sign and the description of the statue, and the plaque was eventually stolen. Since then, only the statue remains in City Park.
Already in the year of its erection, red paint was poured on the statue several times, while in 2009 “killer” and “zionist” inscriptions were also sprayed on it, next to stars of David. At that time, the restoration costs of the statue were estimated at around HUF 60,000 (EUR 175).
Now, the statue of Churchill was once again vandalized, and the inscriptions “nazi,” “racist,” and “BLM (Black Lives Matter)” have been sprayed on it. A reader of Hungarian news portal index.hu made photos of the statue, which you can see in this article.
As we have also reported, the BLM demonstration series also reached Hungary, and hundreds of people commemorated George Floyd’s death and demonstrated against racism and police brutality in Budapest on Sunday. With a strong police presence, the demonstration ended peacefully without incident.
George Floyd died earlier this month in Minneapolis after a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. The black man repeatedly signaled that he couldn’t breathe, but the policeman did not care, not even about passers-by who recorded the event on video. After Floyd’s death, protests and riots started to take place and have spread to more and more cities across America, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, Memphis, Louisville, and St. Louis. In many places around the world, protests and commemorations were held in support of the murdered man, other victims of police brutality, and systemic racism. Since then, the police officer was fired and has been charged with second-degree murder.
Since then, ‘Black Lives Matter’ protestors also started a campaign to demolish statues which can be associated with racism or colonization. The ‘Topple the Racists’ initiative demands the removal of dozens of public statues in the US, England, and around the world, including rulers (such as Charles II and James II), Oliver Cromwell, Sir Francis Drake, as well as politicians, businessmen, and warlords, and also features one of the UK’s famous tourist sights on the list, the Nelson Column in Trafalgar Square, London.
In London, protesters also damaged statues of Winston Churchill and Mahatma Gandhi as they both made racist statements during their lives. Now, just like in London, the Churchill statue in Budapest was also marked with the words ‘racist’ and ‘BLM.’
featured photo: illustration, an earlier picture of the statue. (László Róka/MTVA)