Dozens Of Police Stood Guard Over A Statue Of James Cook And The Internet Tore Them A New One

4 months ago 12
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Politics·

Updated on 15 Jun 2020. Posted on 15 Jun 2020

"Imagine if the police put this much effort into protecting the lives of Indigenous Australians."

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are warned that the following article may contain images of deceased persons.

Miguel Medina / Getty Images, Chandan Khanna / Getty Images, Kenzo Tribouillard / Getty Images

In several cases around the world, statues have already been toppled by activists during Black Lives Matter protests — beginning with the removal of slave trader, Edward Colston, in Bristol, UK.

And in Australia, people have began to discuss the controversial figurehead of one Captain James Cook.

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

James Cook is best-known for being falsely accredited with 'discovering' Australia in the 1700s — a claim that white-washes history and blatantly disregards our First Nations peoples and their 60,000+ years of living on the land.

While there are no official records of James Cook owning or trading slaves in the same manner that colonisers in the US did, there is no denying that he paved the way for the oppression, brutality and racism that befell Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for generations.

“There was no slavery in Australia.” Scott Morrison, 11.06.2020.

What would you call this, then ?

“There was no slavery in Australia.” Scott Morrison, 11.06.2020. What would you call this, then ?

09:17 AM - 11 Jun 2020

There are also records of Cook's involvement in the killings of the fist Māori people his fleet met at the Tūranganui River — not far from what is now known as the city of Gisborne, New Zealand.

As well as the long and painful history of indentured labour in Australia, which saw First Nations peoples forced to work for no money under terrible conditions, for hundreds of years.

And despite prime minster Scott Morrison's claims that "Cook was no slave trader", there are many people who believe that statues of Cook serve only as insensitive, callous reminders of the ongoing mistreatment of Blak communities.

Darrian Traynor / Getty Images

The Captain Cook statue in St Kilda, Melbourne, that was vandalised on January 25, 2018.

During BLM protests in Sydney over the weekend, police officers were pictured encircling the statue of James Cook in Hyde Park — clearly in an attempt to dissuade protestors from toppling the monument.

Saeed Khan / Getty Images

While protestors were unsuccessful in getting close to the statue, here are 24 of the best reactions to the police force presence there:

1.

So, if you're a woman with children suffering #DomesticViolence, the NSW Police will take a statement and file a report. But if you're a 140yo statue of an English explorer, they're out in force to protect you! #priorities #JamesCook #HydePark #BlackLivesMatterAustralia

So, if you're a woman with children suffering #DomesticViolence, the NSW Police will take a statement and file a report. But if you're a 140yo statue of an English explorer, they're out in force to protect you! #priorities #JamesCook #HydePark #BlackLivesMatterAustralia

01:34 PM - 12 Jun 2020

2.

Today the WA Government approved the destruction of more ancient Aboriginal sites in the Pilbara to make way for an iron ore mine.

Tonight a statue in Sydney of James Cook is under police guard to protect it from demonstrators.

That's how little black live matter in Australia

Today the WA Government approved the destruction of more ancient Aboriginal sites in the Pilbara to make way for an iron ore mine. Tonight a statue in Sydney of James Cook is under police guard to protect it from demonstrators. That's how little black live matter in Australia

12:36 PM - 12 Jun 2020

3.

Hey police you're supposed to be protecting PEOPLE, not statues of history's best known racists! 😡 #JamesCook #BlackLivesMatter

Hey police you're supposed to be protecting PEOPLE, not statues of history's best known racists! 😡 #JamesCook #BlackLivesMatter

12:53 PM - 12 Jun 2020

4.

The sheer, unabashed irony of a couple of dozen cops protecting the statue of a man who was killed by an angry crowd is causing my humour to become repetitious. #JamesCook #BLmsydney https://t.co/zQEvbtBBdC

The sheer, unabashed irony of a couple of dozen cops protecting the statue of a man who was killed by an angry crowd is causing my humour to become repetitious. #JamesCook #BLmsydney https://t.co/zQEvbtBBdC

10:00 AM - 12 Jun 2020

5.

Police are seriously guarding Captain Cook statues around the country right now. Incase you had any doubts left about what the role of Police actually is, their being deployed to proactively protect racist statues upholding the white supremacists who invaded should clarify it tbh

Police are seriously guarding Captain Cook statues around the country right now. Incase you had any doubts left about what the role of Police actually is, their being deployed to proactively protect racist statues upholding the white supremacists who invaded should clarify it tbh

10:34 AM - 12 Jun 2020

6.

In the criminal justice system, offenses against statues are considered especially heinous.
In Australia, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Statue Unit. These are their stories.
#CaptainCook

In the criminal justice system, offenses against statues are considered especially heinous. In Australia, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Statue Unit. These are their stories. #CaptainCook

01:00 PM - 12 Jun 2020

7.

While a cabal of far-Right protesters & a circle of police stand protecting at all costs the ephemeral Hyde Park Sydney statue of Captain James Cook, it's only a few days since Rio Tinto wantonly blew up the 'ageless' 46000 year old Indigenous shelters of the Juukan Gorge #auspol

While a cabal of far-Right protesters & a circle of police stand protecting at all costs the ephemeral Hyde Park Sydney statue of Captain James Cook, it's only a few days since Rio Tinto wantonly blew up the 'ageless' 46000 year old Indigenous shelters of the Juukan Gorge #auspol

01:15 PM - 13 Jun 2020

10.

"No reason to remove statues. He's a hero." Calling James Cook a hero is less about upholding our national history and more about upholding a false, one-sided racist narrative around our history which is used to glorify a white coloniser perspective and erase an Aboriginal one.

"No reason to remove statues. He's a hero." Calling James Cook a hero is less about upholding our national history and more about upholding a false, one-sided racist narrative around our history which is used to glorify a white coloniser perspective and erase an Aboriginal one.

03:45 AM - 13 Jun 2020

11.

Police tonight in Sydney’s Hyde Park protecting a *statue* of captain cook.

Imagine if they put this much effort into protecting the lives of indigenous Australians.

#choices #BlackLivesMatter #captaincooked

Police tonight in Sydney’s Hyde Park protecting a *statue* of captain cook. Imagine if they put this much effort into protecting the lives of indigenous Australians. #choices #BlackLivesMatter #captaincooked

10:06 AM - 12 Jun 2020

12.

See this? Police protection for a STATUE of Captain James Cook, infamous coloniser and thief of Aboriginal land. Where were these “brave men and women” when a 46,000 year old sacred Aboriginal cave was blown up by an Australian mining firm a few weeks ago?

See this? Police protection for a STATUE of Captain James Cook, infamous coloniser and thief of Aboriginal land. Where were these “brave men and women” when a 46,000 year old sacred Aboriginal cave was blown up by an Australian mining firm a few weeks ago?

06:51 AM - 13 Jun 2020

13.

i've always hated that fucking captain james cook statue in Sydney's Hyde park like why the fuck do we have australia's colonizer aka british christopher columbus as a statue?? wtf are we commemorating?? 
#blacklivesmatteraustralia

i've always hated that fucking captain james cook statue in Sydney's Hyde park like why the fuck do we have australia's colonizer aka british christopher columbus as a statue?? wtf are we commemorating?? #blacklivesmatteraustralia

11:54 AM - 12 Jun 2020

14.

Say what you want ...BUT Captain James Cook was a racist & a murderer you can't deny the truth protecting his statue @nswpolice is protecting & supporting this horrendous atrocitie face facts & reality @ScottMorrisonMP 
#IndigenousLivesMatter

Say what you want ...BUT Captain James Cook was a racist & a murderer you can't deny the truth protecting his statue @nswpolice is protecting & supporting this horrendous atrocitie face facts & reality @ScottMorrisonMP #IndigenousLivesMatter

06:55 AM - 13 Jun 2020

15.

This tweet is for everyone who ever asks me how Australia is doing in regard to #blacklivesmattersydney #BlackLivesMatterAUS the cops are literally protecting a statue of the monster James Cook in droves https://t.co/aFtWMw2RAG

This tweet is for everyone who ever asks me how Australia is doing in regard to #blacklivesmattersydney #BlackLivesMatterAUS the cops are literally protecting a statue of the monster James Cook in droves https://t.co/aFtWMw2RAG

04:56 PM - 12 Jun 2020

16.

//t.co/507xcCN341

Remember this is just weeks after Australian governments stood back and allowed a 40,000 year old Aboriginal heritage site to be dynamited by a global iron ore company. Priorities. https://t.co/507xcCN341

10:26 AM - 12 Jun 2020

18.

On the left: Statue of James Cook in Sydney's Hyde Park.

On the right: Juukan Gorge in the Hammersley Ranges of Western Australia — a 46,000-year-old Aboriginal site that was destroyed in a blast this month, by mining company Rio Tinto.

19.

The most telling part of tonight’s protest was when we heard the police frantically yell “Go to the statue!” and then rush to surround their precious captain cook. Says plenty about the government’s real priorities.

The most telling part of tonight’s protest was when we heard the police frantically yell “Go to the statue!” and then rush to surround their precious captain cook. Says plenty about the government’s real priorities.

10:00 AM - 12 Jun 2020

There is currently a petition to remove the Captain Cook statue in Cairns. You can also keep up to date with BuzzFeed's coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement here.

Saeed Khan / Getty Images

Please stay safe. Speak out against the violence and deaths of Black people in custody. Bla(c)k Lives Matter.

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