LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 22: Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan during a London 2012 Olympics 10th Anniversary Event held at Bridge One at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London. Wednesday July 27 will mark exactly 10 years since the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics Games. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
London mayor Sadiq Khan has become the subject of online abuse after media reports suggested he was blocking the installation of Queen Elizabeth’s statue at Trafalgar Square.
A sculpture depicting Malawi’s resistance icon John Chilembwe was unveiled on the Fourth Plinth of the famous square last month and Khan’s office had said the platform would continue to support temporary modern art commissions.
This led to the perception that a statue of the late Queen could not be placed on the Fourth Plinth.
As both print and digital media picked up the story, Khan was subjected to racist attacks online as social media users accused him of not being patriotic.
However, the Greater London Authority clarified that the location of any statue of Britain’s longest reigning monarch was a decision for the King and the royal family to make.
The authority said in a statement: “A statue of the Queen at a suitable location in London is a matter for the royal family to consider, and of course, the Greater London Authority stands ready to support them in their wishes.”
The mayor also said he was happy to support the royals in their wishes to use “the Fourth Plinth if that is the royal family’s preference”, the Independent reported.
Despite the clarifications, Khan received a barrage of hate online.
A Twitter user wrote: “The fact that Sadiq khan would rather a Malawian be on the fourth plinth than our late queen who dedicated her life to this country tells you everything about how he views britain [sic].”
Another person on the microblogging platform said the mayor’s reported attempt to block a statue of the Queen was “disgraceful!”
A social media user suggested Khan should no longer be the mayor of London. “Why oh why is this despicable man still Mayor of London. He needs to go!” the person tweeted.
Yet another person wrote, “totally unsuitable. Something grand in Green Park would be good. No need to rush and it shouldn’t become party political. Queen Elizabeth was loved by the vast majority of ‘so-called’ Lefties.”