Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol said: “My relentless commitment is to build a city for all Bristolians, with all our differences.
“To this end, the future of the plinth and what is installed on it must be decided by the people of Bristol. This will be critical to building a city that is home to those who are elated at the statue being pulled down, those who sympathise with its removal but are dismayed at how it happened and those who feel that in its removal, they’ve lost a piece of the Bristol they know and therefore themselves.
“We need change. In leading that change we have to find a pace that brings people with us. There is an African proverb that says if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together. Our challenge is to take the city far. The art of building our city will be finding a way to live with our difference so that even where people do not get what they want, they know they live in a city that is their one and respects them.
“The sculpture that has been installed today was the work and decision of a London based artist. It was not requested and permission was not given for it to be installed.
“We have set out a process to manage our journey. We have established a history commission which will help us tell our full city history. As we learn this fuller history including the part played by black people, women, the working class, trade unions, and children among others, we will be in a better position to understand who we are, how we got here and who we wish to honour. Crucial to our heritage has been the harbour and the docks, manufacturing and industry, research and innovation, transport, slum clearances, housing, modern gentrification and faith. As the commission shares this information, the city will decide on city memorials and the future of the plinth.”