World

Statue of Scouts' founder Baden-Powell to be removed

This article is more than 12 months old

LONDON : A local authority in southern England said it would remove a statue of Lord Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the worldwide scouting movement, the latest memorial to be taken down in the wake of anti-racism protests sparked by the death of Mr George Floyd.

The demonstrations sweeping across the US and Europe have reignited a debate about monuments to those involved in Britain's imperialist past.

Poole council said yesterday the statue of Lord Baden-Powell, a British Boer War hero, would be moved from its location on the quay of the seaside town to storage while discussions with local communities are held about its future.

"Whilst famed for the creation of the Scouts, we also recognise that there are some aspects of Robert Baden-Powell's life that are considered less worthy of commemoration," council leader Vikki Slade said.

INFLUENTIAL

Lord Baden-Powell is widely hailed for setting up the scout movement, which boasts 54 million members worldwide.

In a poll in 2007, he was voted the 13th most influential person in Britain in the 20th century. But critics say he held racist views and was a supporter of Adolf Hitler and fascism.

His statue, which was erected just over a decade ago, currently looks across the harbour to Brownsea Island, where he started the scout movement in 1907.

A spokesman for the Scouts said the organisation was looking forward to discussing the matter with the council "to make an informed decision on what happens next".

"The Scout movement is resolute in its commitment to inclusion and diversity and members continually reflect and challenge ourselves in how we live our values," he said.

On Sunday, protesters in Bristol, western England, pulled down a statue of 17th Century slave trader Edward Colston and threw it into the harbour. It was retrieved yesterday and the local council said it would be displayed in a museum.

Other memorials have also since been removed and councils run by the opposition Labour Party said they would review the "appropriateness of local monuments and statues" on public land. - REUTERS

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