Confirmed reports says the Belgian city of Antwerp on Tuesday removed a statue of colonial-era leader, King Leopold II after it was earlier defaced by anti-racism protesters.
Reuters reports that two online petitions had been launched seeking his statues across the country to be removed for the role his troops played in decimating Congo in the late 1800s.
Prior to this time, Leopold and his statue has been the subject of stern criticism.
During one of the recent protests inspired by the “Black Lives Matter” campaign from the United States, protesters in Brussels climbed a statue of the king waving the Democratic Republic of Congo flag chanting “murderer.”
In other parts of the country, his statues were defaced with red paint; signifying blood for the atrocities that his reign unleashed in the Congo.
In Ghent, a bust of Leopold II was covered in red paint and daubed with “I can’t breathe.” Another statue was set on fire near the city of Antwerp.
According to Historic records, millions of Congolese are estimated to have lost their lives between 1885 and 1908 following Leopold II declaration that the central African country is his personal property. Congo was a personal fiefdom of the monarch before becoming a colony of the Belgian state.
A 14-year-old boy only identified as Noah was behind the petitions that continue to gather signatories. It calls for removals of all statues by end of June stressing that a multicultural Brussels, capital of the EU, has no place for such a personality.
“We are minors and do not wish to reveal our identities. This is why we are looking for an organization to represent us,” the initiator told Reuters.
Leopold ordered his troops to collect the hands of victims, who were often shot for resisting slave labor.