Six-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has called on governments to remove statues of “racists” who made money selling slaves after a British monument was torn down on Sunday.
Widespread anti-racism protests in the UK and across the world have taken place under the banner ‘Black Lives Matter’ since the death of American George Floyd in police custody in late May.
In Bristol, a statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston and dumped into the River Avon.
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“Our country honoured a man who sold African slaves!” Hamilton posted on social media on Monday.
“All statues of racist men who made money from selling a human being should be torn down! Which one is next?”
Hamilton has long been active in protesting against racism and recently sparked his fellow drivers and F1 teams into action after criticising the “white dominated sport” for not speaking out.
The Mercedes driver Hamilton said it should not be needed that people in the streets tear down statues.
“I challenge government officials worldwide to make these changes and implement the peaceful removal of these racist symbols,” he said.
F1 sport chief Ross Brawn said: “We support totally what Lewis has said. What happened was dreadful, it happens far too often, and I think we have seen the public reaction to it.
“It’s almost the straw that broke the camel’s back, and we support him totally.”
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Brawn also said the sport would look at how it can ” support grassroots racing level.
“The fact is Formula 1 is a very strong meritocracy, it should always be that way,” he said.
“It should always be the best who win – and we can’t force that. But we can give greater opportunity to minority and ethnic groups to get involved in motorsport. Not just driving, but engineering and other activities.”
The 35-year-old Hamilton turned his attention to the coronavirus crisis later Monday, posting: “I’m appalled at the UK government on how they have handled COVID. You should have closed the borders months ago.
“How you can let people fly in from countries without being tested is baffling. You could have saved thousands of lives. We need better leaders.”
This content was originally published here.