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Statues of Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria toppled in Canada amid protests over indigenous children’s graves

Statues of Queen Elizabeth II and her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria were toppled and trashed in Canada during angry protests over the disturbing discovery of hundreds of indigenous children’s graves.

Videos online show large crowds pulling down the statues in Winnipeg on Canada Day on Thursday, many chanting, “No pride in genocide.”

“I helped tear the bitch down,” said a caption to an online video of the toppling of 95-year-old reigning UK monarch Elizabeth II, who is Canada’s current head of state.

Other clips showed large crowds, mostly dressed in orange, screaming with joy when they destroyed a statue of Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837 to 1901 when Canada was part of the British Empire.

“They removed Queen Victoria’s head,” tweeted Waabishkaa Ma’iingan Naakshig, a self-styled “warrior activist” who also posted a photo of him “kissing my Indigenous Goddess” atop the now-empty pedestal.

A defaced statue of Queen Elizabeth II lies after being toppled.
A defaced statue of Queen Elizabeth II lies after being toppled.
Shannon VanRaes/Reuters
A defaced statue of Queen Victoria lies after being toppled during a rally, following the discovery of the remains of hundreds of children at former indigenous residential schools, outside the provincial legislature on Canada Day in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Crowds chanted “No pride in genocide,” according to video from the scene.
Shannon VanRaes/Reuters

Others kicked and danced around the toppled statue, which was daubed in red paint hand marks. Elsewhere, Catholic churches have also been vandalized and daubed in similar hand-shaped red paint.

The protests followed the discovery of almost 1,000 unmarked graves at former residential schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan that were mainly run by the Catholic Church and funded by the government.

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

Young dancers circle a statue of Queen Victoria.
Young dancers circle a statue of Queen Victoria.
Shannon VanRaes/Reuters
A defaced statue of Queen Victoria lies after being toppled during a rally, following the discovery of the remains of hundreds of children at former indigenous residential schools, outside the provincial legislature on Canada Day in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesperson criticized the toppling of the statues.
Shannon VanRaes/Reuters
People cheer after Queen Victoria's statue was toppled outside the Manitoba Legislature.
People cheer after Queen Victoria’s statue was toppled outside the Manitoba Legislature.
@KNOWMORE_WPG via REUTERS

The statues were attacked as protesters blamed the country’s colonial past.

In his Canada Day message, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the discoveries “have rightfully pressed us to reflect on our country’s historical failures.”

He called it “a time for reflection” as many cities scrapped traditional Canada Day celebrations, while a #CancelCanadaDay event saw thousands marching through the capital, Ottawa.

statue of queen victoria outside the manitoba legislative building winnipeg manitoba canada
Recently, hundreds of indigenous children’s graves were found in Canada.
Alamy Stock Photo
statue of queen elizabeth ii in the grounds of government house manitoba legislative building winnipeg
Protestors spoke out against Canada’s colonial history.
Alamy Stock Photo

A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government condemned any defacing of statues of the queen.

“Our thoughts are with Canada’s indigenous community following these tragic discoveries, and we follow these issues closely and continue to engage with the Government of Canada on indigenous matters,” he said.



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