CM – Statues of Queen Victoria and Elizabeth in Canada overturned over unmarked graves

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Protesters have overturned statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II in the Canadian city of Winnipeg as anger grows over the discovery of the remains of hundreds of children in unmarked graves in former indigenous schools.

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

However, many cities have canceled events this year as the scandal over indigenous children led Canadians to grapple with their colonial history. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the day was « a time to reflect ».

Nearly 1,000 unmarked graves were found in former residential schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, largely run by the Catholic Church and funded by the government.

For 165 years and not until 1996, schools forcibly separated indigenous children from their families and exposed them to malnutrition and physical and sexual violence in 2015, which the Truth and Reconciliation Commission described as “cultural genocide” in 2015.

In Winnipeg cheered a crowd when the statue of Queen Victoria fell outside the Manitoba Provincial Legislature. Protesters, many of whom wore orange clothing, also kicked the overturned statue and danced around it. The base and statue were smeared with red hand marks.

A nearby statue of Queen Elizabeth was also torn down. She is Canada’s current head of state while Victoria ruled from 1837 to 1901 when Canada was part of the British Empire.

Protests in support of indigenous children also took place in Toronto, Canada’s financial center, on Thursday during a #CancelCanadaDay march in the capital, Ottawa, drew thousands in support of the victims and survivors of the boarding school system.

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

In his Canada Day message, Trudeau said the discoveries of the remains of the children in the former schools « have rightly urged us to think about the historical failures of ours Country to think about « . Injustices still exist for indigenous peoples and many others in Canada, he said.

A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government condemns any defacement of statues of the Queen.

« Our thoughts are with Canada indigenous community following these tragic discoveries, and we are closely monitoring these issues and continuing to engage with the Canadian government on indigenous matters, « he said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited and is not being edited by NDTV staff published via a syndicated feed.)

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