Calls to rip down statue of Nelson

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THE future of the statue of British naval hero Lord Nelson could be in jeopardy after a prominent writer said he was a ‘white supremacist’.

Columnist Afua Hirsch has taken issue with Nelson’s Column which stands in London’s Trafalgar Square, however, a monument to Nelson also stands in Old Portsmouth while a column in his honour overlooks the city on Portsdown Hill.

Portsmouth was the city where Nelson departed before famously losing his life in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 in which he led the British to victory - a key turning point in the Napoleonic Wars.

Ms Hirsch told Sky News: ‘When you think of Nelson most people think about the naval hero who gave his life for his country but how many people actually know that he was, what we would now call in modern language, an unashamed white supremacist?’.

‘I say that not lightly but because at a time even when parliament was vigorously debating the need to abolish slavery, Nelson was vigorously defending it.

‘He believed that black people were inferior, that they belonged on plantations working under conditions of torture and exploitation and he used his incredible position of influence to try and prolong that situation.’

Ms Hirsch’s controversial comments caused a stir on Twitter with #NelsonMustFall in circulation on the social media site.

It follows unrest in the USA last week in which violent protests broke out after the planned removal of a Confederate monument in Charlottesville. One woman lost her life in the protests.

Numerous monuments, including those in Portsmouth and London, have been created in Nelson’s memory and his legacy remains highly influential.