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A statue of a former Belgian king was covered in paint and then pulled down by anti-racism protestors. The statue was of King Leopold II, who was King of the Belgians from 1865 to 1909. He was also ruler of the Congo Free State in Africa from 1885 to 1908. A statue of him in the Belgian city of Antwerp was attacked by protestors over the weekend. It was removed from its pedestal on Tuesday. Hundreds of protestors cheered as the statue came down. City officials say they will probably put the statue in a city museum. A city official said: "The square where the statue stood will be redesigned in 2023. There will be no room for it there afterwards. It will remain part of the museum's collection."
Over 64,000 people signed an online petition against the memory of Leopold on Tuesday. They want more people to know about what he did in the Congo. Historians say he was responsible for the deaths of more than 10 million Congolese people during his 23-year reign. A newspaper said these deaths led to the first use of the term, "crime against humanity". The petition said: "In the space of 23 years, this man killed more than 10 million Congolese without ever having set foot in the Congo." He made a huge personal fortune from the rubber plantations he owned. Another petition was signed by 8,000 people. They believe he was not a "slave king" and that the people who ran the Congo led to the millions of deaths.Comprehension questions
- What did protestors cover a statue of King Leopold II in?
- When did King Leopold II start his reign as king?
- In what Belgian city was the statue of King Leopold II?
- What did protestors do as the statue of King Leopold II came down?
- Where will the statue remain?
- How many people signed a petition against the memory of the king?
- Who said King Leopold II was responsible for over 10 million deaths?
- What phrase did the 10 million deaths create?
- What did King Leopold II make a huge fortune from?
- Who did 8,000 people think were responsible for the 10 million deaths?
Back to the King Leopold II Statue lesson.