The toppling of Edward Colston’s statue in Bristol was an historic moment for the city, watched by the world. And it was an event that electrified a deeply polarised debate about the future of controversial monuments.

Years of calls by anti-racism campaigners for the slaver’s statue to be removed had been met with resistance, until protesters took matters into their own hands last June during a Black Lives Matter demonstration.

Since the figure was pulled from its plinth and rolled into the harbour, other memorials of figures linked to slavery and colonialism have since been removed, will be removed or are under review.

But this process has seen a backlash, including from government ministers, who say removing statues amounts to the censorship of “our shared British history”. The toppling itself was also condemned, with some saying it should have remained until a decision was reached democratically.

Four people – dubbed the Colston 4 – have been charged with causing criminal damage to the statue and, 18 months since it was torn down, are now facing trial. Rhian Graham, Milo Ponsford, Jake Skuse and Sage Willoughby, all in their 20s or 30s, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Their trial is set to be the next milestone in the so-called nationwide Statue Wars. So we want to know what you think about the proceedings and what needs to happen next in the wider debate about statues and how we remember our past.

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