A prominent statue of Queen Victoria has been torn down by protesters in Canada as anger grows over the deaths of indigenous children at residential schools. The protesters cheered as the statue at the legislature in Manitoba’s capital Winnipeg was toppled on Thursday. A smaller statue of Queen Elizabeth II was also upended nearby.
Local media say police used a stun gun to arrest a man at the scene but the protest was largely peaceful. Several protesters took down the statues of Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Victoria in Winnipeg, Canada, on Thursday as anger grew over the discovery of unmarked graves of children in indigenous schools, according to news reports. Along with the monarchs, the statue of British explorer Captain James Cook was also toppled by the protesters. The protests were led by the orange-clad members of a group named ‘Idle No More’ according to the online news website Daily Mail. According to the report, ropes were tied to the statues before they were brought to the ground alongside chants of “no pride in genocide.” The protests came as many citizens had also called for the cancellation of Canada Day celebrations this year due to the country’s colonial past.
The toppling of the statues came on Canada Day, an annual celebration on 1 July that marks the country’s founding by British colonies in 1867. The recent discoveries of unmarked indigenous Canadian graves at residential schools had prompted calls for national celebrations to be called off.