Home News Britons camp by Robert Baden-Powell statue in Poole as protesters 'fail to...

Britons camp by Robert Baden-Powell statue in Poole as protesters 'fail to see the good'

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Dozens have gathered after Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council previously announced that the statue of the founder of the Scout Movement in Poole Quay, Dorset would be temporarily taken down after it was put on a target list during Black Lives Matter protests. But the removal, due to take place on Thursday, was delayed after a crowd of people – some wearing Scout uniforms – gathered around the statue and vowed to protect it.

Deputy council leader Mark Howell has now confirmed it will be boarded up “as soon as possible” instead.

Dan Davies, 37, from Poole, set up his tent next to the statue after hearing about the potential threat.

He said: “I have been camping out like Scouts do – I was a Scout for all the years that I could.

“It is something that is close to my heart. When I saw this happening I set my tent up and I’ve been here since.

Robert baden powell

Residents are camping outside the Robert Baden Powell statue (Image: PA )

Robert baden powell

Residents are camping near the statue to protect it (Image: PA)

“I don’t think people understand the good of the Scout movement. People are failing to see the goodness.

“It is a risk that it is on the list of statues. We are taking the threat seriously.”

The statue appeared on a target list that emerged following a raft of Black Lives Matter protests, sparked by the death of George Floyd in the US city of Minneapolis last month.

It features on a “topple the racists” website which lists more than 60 statues and memorials across the UK which they argue should be taken down, because they “celebrate slavery and racism”.

READ MORE: Nigel Farage makes brilliant point in defence of Baden-Powell statue

Robert baden powell

The statue appeared on a target list that emerged following a raft of Black Lives Matter protests (Image: PA)

Mr Davies said people at the statue were happy to talk to campaigners who felt it should be removed and “have a conversation”.

“Poole is a tourist town – we are not looking for trouble.

“We are just doing what we think is right and what we believe in.”

Around 35,000 people have signed a petition calling for the statue to remain in place.

Those campaigning for the monument to be removed highlighted Baden-Powell’s associations with the Nazis and the Hitler youth programme, as well as his actions in the military.

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Robert baden powell

The statue features on a “topple the racists” website which lists more than 60 statues and memorials across the UK (Image: PA)

Robert baden powell

The statue appeared on a target list that emerged following a raft of Black Lives Matter protests (Image: PA)

Mr Howell said the statue would be boarded up “as soon as possible”.

He said: “The safest thing and most protective thing would be to lift it out and put it into secure storage.

“It has become clear that some people feel that is giving in to protesters and we should just leave it to be vandalised, which is ridiculous because our obligation is to protect it for the future.

“The more valid point that people have been raising is that the council might not put it back in there.

“My assurance is that it would go back but I am not going to be at the council forever.

Robert baden powell

What happened to George Floyd? (Image: EXPRESS)

“So it gives people more security for the long-term future if we board it up.”

Mr Howell said scaffolding panels would be erected around the statue, which overlooks Brownsea Island where Baden-Powell held his first experimental camp in 1907.

He acknowledged that it would not be “as secure” as placing the monument into storage.

Mr Howell said: “It is a response by us to concerns that have been widely expressed that people don’t want to see it physically taken out of the ground, so we are trying the best we can to protect it and keep it in situ.”

When asked when the boarding up would take place, Mr Howell said council workers had been asked to do it “as soon as possible” and likely would do so on Friday or Saturday.

Dorset Police confirmed the statue had been “identified as a potential target” but said officers had not advised the council to remove it.

The World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) said it was following reports about the possible removal of the Baden-Powell statue.

In a statement on Friday, the organisation said Baden-Powell, who was born in 1857, had lived “in a different era with different realities”.

It said the movement he set up more than 113 years ago now has 54 million Scouts in 224 countries and territories.

The WOSM said: “Scouting offers an inclusive environment to bring young people of all races, cultures and religions together, and creates opportunities for dialogue about how to promote peace, justice and equality.

“The movement that was founded in 1907 on Brownsea Island stands strong in its promotion of diversity and inclusion which are cornerstones of Scouting’s values, while denouncing all forms of racism, discrimination, inequality and injustice.”

It said Scouts across the world attached “historical value and symbolism” to the birthplace of the movement.

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said to take statues down would “be to lie about our history”.



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