Students call to remove statue of slave trader that ''degrades'' experience of black people

Credit: Cardiff City Hall

A group of students in Cardiff have said controversial statues depicting slave traders ''degrade'' the history of black people in Wales.

Hakima Hersi, Laila Ismail and Hamdah Farah study at Cardiff University and produce a podcast that focuses on race and identity.

They have seen the row over monuments celebrating those who profited from slavery erupt in Cardiff, with calls to remove a statue of Thomas Picton from city hall.

The city's Lord Mayor, Cllr Dan De'Ath wrote a letter calling for the statue of the "sadistic" slave trader Picton to be removed from the Marble Hall of the building.

Hakima Hersi, Laila Ismail and Hamdah Farah have been sharing their on controversial monuments Credit: ITV Wales

Hakima Hersi believes the statues of slave traders celebrate their actions.

''It's good to educate people on what happened in terms of black history but having a statue of somebody who was a slave trader degrades what has happened to people of colour and black people,'' Hakima said.

''Putting him as a statue glorifies him and that's not what we want.

Taking the statue down symbolises respect given to what has happened to the black community historically.''

Laila Ismail says monuments like that of Thomas Picton should already have been taken down.

''I think it is very insensitive towards all those people that died so I think the statue should have been taken down years ago,'' Laila said.

''It shouldn't have taken down because of the Black Lives Matter movement.''

There have also been calls to remove the Picton memorial in Carmarthen Credit: ITV Wales

For Hamdah Farah keeping the statues in order to educate people about the history of slavery is not a good enough reason.

''We weren't taught about it at school.'' she said.

''I did my own research, we all did our own research.

''Then finding out about statues of people who condoned that behaviour were being taken down made sense.''

The girls also spoke to ITV News about the case of Shukri Abdi - a 12-year-old refugee who died in a river in Manchester last year.

Following her death, Greater Manchester Police said it was treating what happened as a "tragic incident" and did not believe there were any suspicious circumstances.

Shukri Yahye-Abdi was pulled from the water near Bury town centre Credit:

Shukri's family, who live in Bury, said she could not swim and playing by the river was "out of character".

A petition calling for "justice" for Shukri has received more than 800,000 signatures.

"We want to illuminate the fact she has been failed - and we want justice for her", Hakima said.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct said in August last year that it would be investigating the police's handling of the investigation - the results of which have been shared with the police and Shukri's family.

It examined whether the officers 'prematurely concluded' that Shruki's death wasn't suspicious and whether her family was treated less favourably because of their ethnic background.

"We plan to publish our report following Shukri’s inquest, a date for which has not been set at this time", a spokesperson said.