Demolition of the demonstrators Queen statues victory and Queen Elizabeth II In the Canadian city of Winnipeg, with anger rising upon the discovery of The remains of hundreds of children In unidentified graves in ancient Aboriginal schools. “No pride in genocide,” a crowd chanted before they tore down the statues of kings.
The event was held on Canada Day on Thursday (1), when traditional festivities take place across the country.
However, many cities canceled events this year as the scandal surrounding Indigenous Canadian children prompted them to confront their colonial history. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today would be a “time for reflection”.
Nearly 1,000 unmarked graves have been found in former residential schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, primarily operated by the Catholic Church and funded by the government.
For 165 years until 1996, schools forcibly separated Indigenous children from their families, subjecting them to malnutrition, physical and sexual abuse in what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called a “cultural genocide” in 2015.
In Winnipeg, a crowd cheered when a statue of Queen Victoria fell outside the Manitoba provincial legislature. The protesters, many dressed in orange, kicked the demolished statue and danced around it. The pedestal and statue are hand painted in red.
A nearby statue of Queen Elizabeth was also demolished. She is the current President of Canada, while Victoria ruled from 1837 to 1901 when Canada was part of the British Empire.
Protests in support of Indigenous children were also held Thursday in Toronto, Canada’s financial hub, while the #CancelCanadaDay rally in the capital, Ottawa, drew thousands of people to support victims and survivors of the residential school system.
Vigils and rallies were held in other parts of the country. Many of the participants wore orange clothes that became a symbol of the movement.
In his message for Canada Day, Trudeau said the discovery of children’s remains in old schools “pressure us only to reflect on the historical failures of our country.” He said there was still injustice to indigenous peoples and many others in Canada.
A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government condemns any mutilation of statues of the Queen.
“Our thoughts are with Aboriginal people in Canada following these tragic discoveries, and we have followed these issues closely and continue to engage with the Canadian government on Aboriginal issues,” he said.
* Coverage by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru. Angus MacSwan Edition.
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