BLM Activists Demand Gandhi Statue Toppled: He Was 'fascist, racist, sexual predator'
Petition to remove monument in Leicester, UK, gets thousands of signatures
Black Lives Matter activists are demanding that the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Leicester, UK, is torn down, claiming the great Indian leader was a "fascist, racist, sexual predator."
The mayor of Leicester, Sir. Peter Soulsby, has so far refused to bow down to the demands, despite a viral online campaign.
Sir. Soulsby's words come as an online petition, calling for the monument to be removed, has gathered more than 6,000 signatures.
The Change.org campaign was set up calling for the statue of the Indian independence leader to be toppled, claiming he was a "racist," along with other allegations.
Some academics have suggested Gandhi may have held racist views and was prejudiced about black people.
The assumption stems from claims that he accepted white minority power and referred to black Africans as the derogatory term Kaffirs.
The death of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis, U.S, earlier this month, has sparked an increase in anti-racism protests and campaigning.
As a result of the demonstrations, several statues and monuments have been removed, such as a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, or boarded up to protect them from being vandalized.
The Leicester-based Change.org petition states: "Gandhi, is a fascist, racist and sexual predator.
"For years he has been idolised and taught in school curriculum.
"For a lot of people in my community, he has bought inconsolable suffering against my people.
"As a result, I do not wish to see a statue and praise of that kind of character."
Leicester's mayor has however quashed the proposal and said he has no intention of removing the statue which was erected following a fundraising effort in the local community in 2009.
Earlier this month residents formed a "ring of steel" around the statue to stop it from being vandalized or toppled as it was revealed it could be a target.
They were joined by former Leicester MP Keith Vaz who was involved in efforts to commission the memorial.
Sir. Peter said: "There's no prospect at all of us removing it. And I'm not sure we'd have the power to take it down anyway.
"It was a community effort to put it there to celebrate someone who, for all of us, was a very inspirational leader in India who inspired the rest of the world with his creed of non-violence."
The East Leicester MP Claudia Webbe has described the debate over Gandhi as an unnecessary distraction from the Black Lives Matter campaign.
In a letter, Sir. Peter wrote to Mr. Vaz: "I am delighted to be able to give you an absolute assurance that there is no prospect whatsoever of the council agreeing at any time to the removal of the statue - and certainly not while I remain mayor."
The Gandhi statue was funded with donations from local people to celebrating the man who led the campaign against the British dominance of people in India during the early 20th century.