NewsWorldStatues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth demolished in...

Statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth demolished in Canada

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Winnipeg, Canada (Reuters) – Protesters toppled statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II in the Canadian city of Winnipeg, at a time when outrage over the discovery of the remains of hundreds of minors in nameless graves in former Indian schools.
A crowd chanted “there is no pride in genocide” before toppling the statues of the monarchs.

The action took place on Thursday, Canada Day, which is traditionally celebrated across the country.

However, many cities suppressed the events this year, as the Indian children scandal caused Canadians to grapple with their colonial history. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the day would be “a time of reflection.”

Nearly 1,000 unmarked graves have been found in former boarding schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, which were run primarily by the Catholic Church and funded by the government.

For 165 years and until 1996, schools forcibly separated indigenous children from their families, subjecting them to malnutrition and physical and sexual abuse in what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called “cultural genocide” in 2015.

In Winnipeg, a crowd applauded the fall of the Queen Victoria statue in front of the Manitoba provincial legislature. The protesters, many of whom were wearing orange clothing, also kicked the toppled statue and danced around it. The pedestal and statue were covered with red paint hand marks.

Many cities have suppressed Canada Day events this year amid the scandal over the treatment of indigenous minors.

They also toppled a nearby statue of Queen Elizabeth, who is Canada’s current head of state, while Victoria reigned from 1837 to 1901, when Canada was part of the British Empire.

Protests in support of indigenous children also took place Thursday in Toronto, Canada’s financial center, while a #CancelCanadaDay (‘Cancel Canada Day’) march in the capital Ottawa drew thousands of people in support of victims and survivors of the boarding school system.

Vigils and rallies were held in other parts of the country. Many participants wore orange clothing, which has become the symbol of the movement.

In his Canada Day message, Trudeau said that the discoveries of the remains of the minors of the old schools “have rightly prompted us to reflect on the historical failures of our country.” Injustices continue to exist for indigenous peoples and many others in Canada, he said.

A spokesman for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government condemned any attack on the queen’s statues.

“We stand with the Canadian Indigenous community following these tragic discoveries, and we are closely monitoring these issues and continuing to engage with the Canadian government on Indigenous affairs,” he said.

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