Whitby's Captain Cook statue added to Topple the Racists website as police prepare for protests around Yorkshire

Whitby's statue of Captain James Cook has now been added to an online anti-racism hitlist.

Friday, 12th June 2020, 10:14 am
Updated Friday, 12th June 2020, 10:16 am
The sun sets over Whitby's Captain Cook statue.

Concern had already been raised for the future of the statue after tributes to the explorer in other areas were included on the Topple the Racists website.

A Facebook page has been created - with more than 1,000 members - calling for the Whitby statue to be protected and an online petition has been launched, addressed to Boris Johnson, which calls for all Captain Cook statues to remain.

The anti-racism and slavery website is compiling what it describes as a map of UK statues and monuments that "celebrate slavery and racism".

The site is calling for debate over whether those statues should be moved into museums and landmarks renamed.

It comes after a statue of slave trader Edward Colston was pulled down and thrown into a river in Bristol during anti-racism protests.

The entry for Whitby's statue - thought to have been added yesterday (Thursday) accused Captain Cook of claiming lands in New Zealand in the name of colonialism and killing Māoris in the process.

Meantime, North Yorkshire Police says it is aware there could be anti-racism protests taking place in the county this coming weekend.

Proactive Policing Chief Inspector Ed Haywood-Noble said: “Over the past week, we have seen North Yorkshire residents exercising their right to peaceful protest, in response to recent events in the US.

"We have engaged with protest organisers and local authorities and are pleased to say that all the protest activity which has taken place in our region has been carried out in a peaceful manner, respecting all members of the community and has seen demonstrators adhering to social distancing.

“We are aware that there is some further protest activity planned for the forthcoming weekend and we fully anticipate that these demonstrations will continue to be peaceful.

"Local policing teams will be in attendance to ensure the safety and security of everyone involved.

"As the Covid-19 virus still presents a threat to public health, personal responsibility is key to controlling the spread.

"I would urge those who are thinking of attending to ensure they take all necessary, precautionary steps and while at the event, continue to adhere to social distancing guidance to minimise the spread of the virus.

“North Yorkshire Police support people’s rights to express their view peacefully and we will continue to work alongside the event organisers to ensure public safety.”