PROTESTORS covered a statue of 19th century explorer Henry Morton Stanley in a bodybag in Denbigh.
The statue in the centre of town has long been an issue of controversy.
The Denbigh-born journalist and explorer became world famous, despite being born a pauper (then named John Rowlands) and dumped by his mother in the workhouse as a child.
He is most famous for travelling to Africa in search for Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone, uttering the words “Dr Livingstone I presume?” when he finally found him after eight-months of looking.
But when originally proposed the statue was opposed by leading academics and writers including historian and broadcaster Dr John Davies and North Wales author Jan Morris.
The statue was seen by some to be glorifying Victorian imperialism in Africa including practices such as slavery and genocide.
Stanley had been involved in the early colonisation of the Congo where slave labour was used on rubber plantations, rubber being the major export from the Congo at the time.
Barbaric practices in the colony would later be revealed to a shocked world through a report by Roger Casement commissioned by the British Government.
But, say others, Denbigh’s famous son should not be held responsible for atrocities committed by others simply because he was there.
The protest saw a small crowd gather at the statue where it was sheathed in a black rubber garment that resembled a bodybag.
Organiser Dr Selwyn Williams said: “It was really good today, there were quite a few people there, more than we expected.
“The artistry of the sculptress who designed the piece used to sheath the statue was quite clever.
“It was made of rubber which is significant.
“In an odd way it has acted as vocal point for debate and sort of subverted the statue but it is still wrong that Stanley has been put on a pedestal.
“It is quite gratifying now that every reference to it in the media is of a controversial statue which in itself leads people leads people to ask questions of their history.”
This is the second time the statue has been veiled in what artist Wanda Zyborska describes as a “funeral condom”.
The Free Press reported on a similar “re-veiling” carried out by the campaigners in September 2012.
But Denbigh (Central) Cllr Gwyneth Kensler, a supporter of the statue, said: “It’s King Leopold (II) of Belgium who was responsible for the atrocities in the Congo.
“Stanley had left by that time.
“In fact he was sacked by King Leopold because he wouldn’t do what he wanted him to do.”
She said she was told of the protest while at the National Eisteddfod.
“I find it pathetic and the people involved pathetic,” she said.
“I wonder if the people involved still eat Belgian chocolate or use Tate and Lyle (sugar) products?” she asked.
Sugar plantations in Africa were known to use slave labour before the Slavery Abolition Act 1838.