Banksy designs T-shirts to raise funds for ‘Colston Four’ accused of Bristol statue damage

Banksy says he has made T-shirts that he will be selling to support four people facing trial accused of criminal damage over the toppling of a statue of slave trader Edward Colston.

The anonymous artist gepos on Instagram pictures of limited-edition grey souvenir T-shirts, which will go on sale on Saturday in Bristol.

The shirts have a picture of Colston’s empty plinth with a rope hanging off, with debris and a discarded sign nearby and the word “Bristol” written above.

He said proceeds from the sale will be given to the four people facing trial next week in the city accused of criminal damage “so they can go for a pint”.

Bristol-based Banksy said sales would be limited to one per person and each T-shirt would cost £25 plus VAT.

The “Colston Four” – Rhian Graham, 29, Jake Skuse, 36, and Sage Willoughby, 21, all from Bristol, and Milo Ponsford, 25, from Bishopstoke, Hampshire – are accused of “with each other and others unknown without lawful excuse” damaging the statue and plinth, a listed monument belonging to the city council.

They have all pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal damage and face trial this month at Bristol crown court.

The bronze memorial to the 17th-century slave merchant was pulled down during a Black Lives Matter protest on 7 June last year, before being dumped in Bristol Harbour and later recovered by Bristol city council.

Colston’s legacy had for a long time been controversial in Bristol, the south-west’s most multicultural area. The city’s wealth was built on the profits of the triangle trade, which kidnapped Africans and transported them to the Americas as slaves, then shipped the cotton and sugar they produced there to Britain to fuel the industrial revolution.

With Press Association

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