The monument includes a statue of Gallieni standing on a pedestal held up by carvings of a half-nude African woman, an Asian figure and a woman from Madagascar. Gallieni was notably governor of Madagascar, where he abolished the island’s 350-year-old monarchy.
He is celebrated across France in statues and street names. Signs to a Paris metro station in his name were briefly covered up Wednesday with a replacement name by anti-colonial activists.
Françoise Vergès, a prominent political thinker on questions of colonization, race and gender, demanded that the statue be moved to a museum.
“Gallieni massacred in Madagascar, Mali, Sénégal and Vietnam, he’s not a national hero,” she said. “If he was moved to a museum, we’d need to hear what he’s done, testimonies from Malagasy, Senegalese and Malian people telling their story.”
President Emmanuel Macron has said France won’t take down any statues of figures linked to colonialism or slave trading, despite demands by activist groups amid similar movements in the U.S. and elsewhere in the wake of protests over George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on May 25.
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