‘I hear you’re a racist now … Gandhi” – backlash to statue removal rises

A petition to remove a statue of civil rights icon Mahatma Gandhi in Leicester has reached over 6,000 signatures – but also attracted considerable backlash both online and locally.

The petition was started by a Kerri Pangulier from Derby who accused Gandhi of being a ‘racist and facist’ and called for his statue to be taken down.

However, former Leicester East MP Keith Vaz said Gandhi was “one of the greatest peacemakers in history”.

At the weekend, the MP joined local people to form a human chain around the statue holding white ribbon.



He described those making threats against the statute as “shameful”.

“It is an iconic monument in our city – Mahatma Gandhi was an inspiration for Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela,” he said.

“He was a peacemaker and changed the lives of millions – to accuse him of racism is deplorable. “Those who attempt to do any damage to it, as has happened elsewhere, must face the full force of the law,” he told Leicester Mercury, a local paper.

The statue, unveiled in 2009, is one of three erected in the UK in tribute to the Indian nationalist and civil rights icon, famous for his non-violent resistance to British colonial rule – the others being in London and Manchester.

The city council said it would consider the petition as “part of a wider conversation about the wider conversation about the context, relevance and appropriateness of street names, statues and monuments in the city”.


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