Statues at the seat of the Manitoba Legislature ended up on the ground, at least one person was arrested, atled BBC news website. The riots erupted with growing outrage over the finds at former boarding schools for children from indigenous communities in Canada, where nearly 1,000 graves with children’s remains have been found in British Columbia and Saskatchewan in recent weeks. These schools, which were usually run by the Catholic Church and funded by the government, operated in Canada until the end of the last century and were the scene of cruel treatment for children separated from their families. A 2015 Canadian investigation report called the system an instrument of “cultural genocide.”
Protesters in Winnipeg also spoke about the indigenous genocide on Thursday, Reuters reports. The statue of Queen Victoria, who ruled from 1837 to 1901, was first painted red and then cheered when several people pulled it to the ground with the help of ropes. Similarly, she ended up standing nearby statue Elizabeth II, who, as the current British monarch, is also the formal head of state of Canada.
A statue of Queen Victoria was toppled outside the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg, Canada on Thursday, amid outrage over the discovery of unmarked graves belonging to Indigenous Canadian children. pic.twitter.com/nIbO8JRqlF
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 2, 2021
A demonstration in support of indigenous people also took place in Toronto on Thursday, with thousands of people marching in the capital Ottawa to the event with the slogan “Let’s cancel Canada Day.”
The national holiday, which is celebrated on July 1, is a reminder of the country’s founding by the British colonies in 1867 and is traditionally accompanied by more celebratory events. This year, however, a number of Canadian cities canceled the celebrations during a scandal surrounding children’s graves. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the holiday would be “a time of contemplation.”
Belonging to the indigenous people of Canada was also expressed by the British government when it issued a statement condemning the demolition of the statues in Winnipeg. “We are thinking of the indigenous community of Canada after these tragic findings and we are following these issues closely,” said a government spokesman.