STUDENTS gathered in Oriel Square in Oxford yesterday to demand the removal of a statue of colonial politician Cecil Rhodes.

The statue was built in his honour by Oxford University’s Oriel College after he made a donation for a new building.

Members of the Rhodes Must Fall in Oxford group, which aims to “fight intersectional oppression within Oxford”, gathered in Oriel Square shortly after noon to demand that the statue is taken down.

In a peaceful protest, they held up banners and called for the college to remove the statue.

They also have a petition for the college demanding the statue’s removal and organisers said about 250 people attended the protest.

Oriel College has previously issued a statement pledging to meet students to discuss the matter.

Corpus Christi College classics student Kiran Benipal, 19, who helped to lead the demonstration, said: “I come from East London, but I am originally from India.

“We are questioning Rhodes’ politics and asking if the money he donated came from the enslavement and oppression of black Africans.

“We have been making a noise and waving banners but this is a peaceful protest.

“We don’t think there is anything to negotiate with the college – the statue must come down.”

Cecil Rhodes was a student at Oriel College between 1873 and 1881. When he died in 1902 he left two per cent of his fortune to the college, which funded a new building on High Street.

BBC journalist John Simpson also attended the demonstration as his wife Dee Kruger is a South African journalist.