George Floyd protests: ‘Racist’ sign removed from Derbyshire pub after thousands sign petition

A “racist” sign has been removed from outside a pub in Derbyshire after thousands demanded it be taken down amid Black Lives Matter protests nationwide.

More than 28,000 people signed a petition calling for the caricature of a black man’s head to be removed from the sign for the Greenman pub in Ashbourne.

Derbyshire Dales District Council said it was being taken down with “immediate effect”.

It comes after anti-racism protesters in Bristol, outraged by the killing of George Floyd in the US, pulled a statue of slave trader Edward Colston off its plinth and threw into the harbour.

The Grade II-listed pub sign, which arches over St John’s Street in the Derbyshire town, was likened to a golliwog – a 19th century rag doll largely considered to be racist – by one protester.

They said: “I think people are ashamed of it. Having it in the middle of the street in a small town is so unwelcoming.”

Matthew Holt, 19, an international relations student from Ashbourne, was among the thousands who signed the petition.

He said: “It seems such an obvious racist sign. I think it’s important we address our history; we can’t change it but this shouldn’t be displayed in the public eye.

“It should be in a museum where we can learn about it with a description to contextualise it.”

But a counter petition, which has accumulated nearly 3,000 signatures, argues the sign is “not even the smallest bit racist”.

Demonstrators threw a statue of Edward Colston into Bristol Harbour during a Black Lives Matter protest

One signatory, Shaun Redfern, 17, from Ashbourne, said: “Are we supposed to deny our past now and get rid of old artefacts?”

A sign with the words “save me” was seen wrapped around the sign on Monday afternoon.

As Black Lives Matter protests continue across the UK and the rest of the world, there is a growing demand for controversial monuments associated with slavery to be taken down.

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There are currently similar petitions in Edinburgh, Cardiff, Oxford and Shrewsbury.

While he said he could not condemn criminal damage to the Colston statue in his city, Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees told Sky News the monument was an “affront” to Black, Asian and minority ethnic residents.

But Home Secretary Priti Patel described protesters’ actions as “utterly disgraceful” and threatened them with criminal charges.

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