Activist Put On Trial For Defacing Statue Of Anti-Black Royal Minister

French activist Franco Lollia is set to stand trial for defacing a statue honoring former Royal Minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert. The lawsuit accuses Lollia of writing "state Negrophobia" across the front of the monument in red paint. Lollia picked Colbert's statue because the former royal minister is widely known for encouraging slave owners to brand enslaved people and encouraging others to execute enslaved people who attempted to escape. Feeling that he was justified in his actions, Lollia describes the trial as an "insult" to him and the Black people of France.

“I am sad to see that history seems to be repeating itself and our voices are still not heard,” Lollia said.

“I am really disappointed that the justice system is still so blind.”

Lollia's attorney Georges-Emmanuel Germany has argued that his client acted in self-defense. Germany stated that court should not only weigh his client's actions, but they should also consider the country's actions as a "criminal state."

“You are not only the judge of the accused. You are also the judge of the behavior of the victim," Germany stated.

“Colbert is a major figure of this colonial past, this past where Black people were not recognized as human beings...The system itself is Negrophobic from the moment it doesn’t put into question the history. France is capable of healing from its Negrophobia and from its state racism in general, but the French state must learn to face its history, and not only part of the history it likes."

Lollia has been charged with defacing property. His charges could result in a fine or community service. Thus far, prosecutors have asked that he pay a fine of 800 euros, which equates to $970.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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