As reported by HLN, a petition has been started on the internet to replace the removed statue of Belgium’s controversial King Leopold II in Ekeren with that of local hero and Tottenham Hotspur centre-back Toby Alderweireld.
Leopold II was also the Sovereign of the Congo Free State from 1885 to 1908, and an estimated 10–15 million Africans died during his absolute rule of the Congo.
His statue in Ekeren, like those across the country, was defaced by anti-racism protesters before it was finally removed, and it seems some want that of Alderweireld installed in its place.
Some have started a petition to replace the removed statue of Belgium’s controversial king Leopold II in Ekeren by a local hero: … Toby Alderweireld. #thfc https://t.co/pOPnvOZDWs https://t.co/ijBrm1cboq
— Kristof Terreur 📰🎥 (@HLNinEngeland) June 10, 2020
The petition read:
“It is now clear that the removed statue of Leopold II in the center cannot come back there. The damage expresses a message that would make it impossible, or perhaps even inappropriate, to replace it. Since that place is now vacant, I think it would be a good idea to replace this image with an image of a real local hero: Toby Alderweireld. In addition to being a talented and successful footballer, Toby is known to have never forgotten his roots: the stories of homesickness during his Ajax period are widely known, and he has the cathedral tattooed on his arm. Therefore, he certainly deserves to be honored in the central square of his own village. A man who represents our entire nation internationally, puts the village of Ekeren on the map and is welcomed by people of all backgrounds. Sign this petition! He deserves it!”
While Alderweireld is definitely a local hero and was involved in some impressive charity works when the coronavirus pandemic first broke out, it doesn’t seem that he has done enough to deserve a statue in his city.
Sportsmen seldom get statues, and the Tottenham star will have to do more to earn one.
The people of Uccle wouldn’t be wrong to demand a Vincent Kompany statue, but the Manchester City legend won’t likely be getting anyone soon, and despite the petition, it’s hard to see Ekeren’s district council agreeing to replace the removed statue of Leopold II with Alderweireld’s.