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The historic statue of Belgian King Leopold II was removed in Antwerp in the midst of protests



The historic statue of Belgian King Leopold II was removed in Antwerp in the midst of protests

A long-standing controversial statue of former Belgian king Leopold II has been taken down after being set ablaze last week during global unrest over the death of police prisoner George Floyd, according to a report.

Protesters in Antwerp have long criticized the 150-year-old statue as a symbol of the country’s violent past. Leopold II captured Congo in the late 19th century and ran a brutal regime, plundered the land for personal gain and killed 10 million people, Brussels Times reports.

To try to overcome the anger over the monument, Antwerp in 2018 added a sign to contextualize the Belgian colonial government.

But the statue was completely removed on Tuesday morning after suffering “severe damage” during the fire, and will be moved to the Middelheim Museum in Antwerp for restoration, officials said.

“The statue has been damaged and will be removed and temporarily stored in the statue collection at the Middelheim Museum, where the statue will be restored,” Johan Vermant, spokesman for the mayor of Antwerp, Bart De Wever, told The Brussels Times.

Officials say they do not know when the restoration will be completed, but the redesign of the upcoming public space that once stood is likely to mean it will never return.

“Because the square where the statue stands will be redesigned in 2023, and there will be no room for it afterwards, it will probably remain part of the museum’s collection,” Vermant said.

The broken statue of former Belgian king Leopold II is seen being moved for possible renovations in Ekeren, Belgium.
The broken statue of former Belgian king Leopold II is seen being moved for possible renovations in Ekeren, Belgium.through REUTERS

The statue is one of several dedicated to Leopold II in Belgium which officials are now considering removing, the Brussels Times reported.

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This is also among several controversial statues around the world – including in the United States – which have been overcome in response to the recent civil unrest over racism and police brutality.

In the US, protesters have successfully lobbied to remove a statue in Philadelphia from the controversial former Mayor Frank Rizzo.

Meanwhile demonstrators in the south have targeted a number of confederate monuments. Virginia is looking to erase the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Richmond, which has been severely damaged during recent protests.

Protesters in the Virginia capital have taken it themselves to bring down another statue of the confederation there, General Williams Carter Wickham.

And in Britain, protesters knocked down a bronze statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston on Sunday and dumped it into the port of Bristol.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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