Cecil Rhodes effect: Queen Mary University removes King Leopold II plaques after student protest
The “Cecil Rhodes effect” is creating a chilling atmosphere around the country, experts fear, after it emerged that Queen Mary University of London quietly removed a foundation stone laid by King Leopold II amid student complaints that he was a “genocidal colonialist”.
Within weeks of the launch of a petition by the university's Pan-African Society calling for the foundation stone and commemorative plaque to be taken down, the institution's authorities yielded to the activists' demands.
King Leopold II, who was a first cousin of Queen Victoria, ruled Belgium from 1835 to 1909. He founded the Congo Free State, now the Democratic of Congo, where he forced natives to work as labourers on rubber plantations.