A statue of Her Majesty The Queen has been torn down by protesters in Canada as anger grows over the deaths of indigenous children at residential schools. A more prominent statue of Queen Victoria was also torn down as the rest of Canada celebrated Canada Day on 1st July.
Demonstrators toppled statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth in Winnipeg this afternoon during rallies honouring the children discovered in unmarked graves on the sites of former residential schools over the past month. pic.twitter.com/Zx0aqPGcOW
— APTN News (@APTNNews) July 2, 2021
The statue of Queen Victoria, outside the legislature in Winnipeg, was toppled on Thursday as protesters cheered. The smaller statue of Queen Elizabeth II was also toppled nearby. Though the protest was said to be largely peaceful, Police say that a stun gun was used to arrest one man.
Recent discoveries of unmarked indigenous Canadian graves at residential schools had prompted calls for Canada Day celebrations to be called off.
A spokesperson for the British government commented, “We obviously condemn any defacing of statues of The Queen. Our thoughts are with Canada’s indigenous communities following these tragic discoveries and we follow these issues closely and continue to engage with the government of Canada with indigenous matters.”
Queen Victoria became Monarch in 1837 and was on the throne during the founding of the Canadian confederation. The British crown negotiated treaties with indigenous First Nations in Canada and the government enacted its residential schools policy during the reign of Victoria.
Canada Day is an annual celebration on 1st July that marks the country’s founding by British colonies in 1867.
Photo: Ministry of Defence