Statue of Leopold II in Antwerp Removed for 'Restoration'

A statue of King Leopold II in Antwerp, Belgium, that was vandalized during recent anti-racism protests was removed by city officials on June 9 and taken away to be “restored,” reports said.

King Leopold II of Belgium is notorious for leading the brutal colonization of the country now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo. From 1885 to 1908, when he personally led the Congo Free State, it is estimated that 2 to 13 million Congolese lives were lost.

Protesters lit the statue on fire and painted the hands red, among other vandalism, during several days of protests in early June, HLN reported. The statue’s fate was unknown, according to HLN, which reported that it was unlikely the monument will be returned to its former place in the center of the Ekeren area of Antwerp.

The official position of the ruling party of the Flemish regions, N-VA, on controversial statues is “inform above remove.”

The party said their preference is to attach QR code stickers and informational signs to such statues and let them stand as “a constant reminder of what racism can bring about in our society.” Credit: Ilse De Schutter via Storyful