Four people have been charged with criminal damage after the toppling of a statue of the slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol in June this year.
Rhian Graham, 29, Milo Ponsford, 25, Jake Skuse, 32, and Sage Willoughby, 21, will appear before Bristol magistrates court on 25 January for the first hearing, the Crown Prosecution Service said.
The bronze memorial to Colston, a 17th-century slave merchant, was pulled down during a Black Lives Matter protest on 7 June and was rolled into the water at Bristol harbour. It was recovered by Bristol city council, and the cost of the damage to the statue amounted to about £3,750.
No arrests were made at the time but Avon and Somerset police investigated. The CPS said on Wednesday it had authorised charges following a review of a file of evidence from the force.
A spokesman said: “The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against all four are now active and that they have the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”
The bronze statue, which had stood in Colston Avenue since 1895, had long been a focal point for public anger at the continued commemoration of people who had been involved in the city’s slave trade. A petition for its removal had gained thousands of signatures.