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Statues of Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth toppled by Protesters in Canada

A crowd pulled down a statue of Queen Victoria in Winnipeg, Canada. Reuters


Statues of Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth toppled by Protesters in Canada


Canada – Statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II were destroyed after anger over the discovery of over 1,000 Indigenous children’s unmarked graves.

On Canada Day, an annual event on July 1 that commemorates the country’s confederation, people gathered at the Manitoba legislature in Winnipeg and tore down the statue of Victoria.

The crowd chanted: “no pride in genocide.”

Members of the group, dressed in orange shirts to honor Indigenous children transported to the country’s infamous residential schools, decorated the monument and its pedestal with crimson handprints and placed a placard reading “We were children once. Bring them home.”

According to Reuters, a neighboring statue of Queen Elizabeth II, Canada’s current head of state, was also demolished. Some consider her and Queen Victoria to be icons of Canada’s colonial history.

The remains of 215 children were discovered in May by ground-penetrating radar at the Kamloops Indian Residential School site in British Columbia. The Kamloops school was the biggest in the Indian Affairs residential school system, which housed thousands of Indigenous children throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


The bones of 761 children were discovered in June at the old Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan.

Although this was the biggest burial site discovered to yet, it was not the first. According to the New York Times, over 1000 unmarked graves have been discovered throughout British Columbia and Saskatchewan, all at old government-funded “residential schools” mostly operated by the Catholic Church. Indigenous children were deliberately taken from their parents and forced to attend these schools for more than a century.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared the day a “a time for reflection”

According to Reuters, the schools have forcefully removed Indigenous children from their families for 165 years. Malnourishment, physical torture, and sexual assault were allegedly inflicted on the youngsters.

Over a century, at least 150,000 Indigenous children were removed from their families to attend the schools as part of the government’s effort to forcibly integrate the children into Canadian society.

Protests in favor of indigenous children were also held in Toronto, Canada’s financial center, on Thursday, while a #CancelCanadaDay march in Ottawa attracted hundreds in support of victims and survivors of the residential school system.

Indigenous organizations had already called for a boycott of Canada Day in response to the new findings.

“We will not celebrate stolen Indigenous land and stolen indigenous lives. Instead we will gather to honour all of the lives lost to the Canadian state,” said the Idle No More movement, which is calling for national rallies to support Indigenous communities.

The British government issued a statement condemning the toppling of the two monuments but recognizing the wider context. “We obviously condemn any defacing of statues of the Queen,” a spokesperson told the BBC. “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 with indigenous matters.”

Last month, the United Nations Human Rights Office requested that the Vatican examine the mass grave at the Kamloops school.

“Large scale human rights violations have been committed against children belonging to indigenous communities, it is inconceivable that Canada and the Holy See would leave such heinous crimes unaccounted for and without full redress,” the UN said in a statement.

Other areas of the nation conducted vigils and rallies. Many people donned orange attire, which has become the movement’s emblem.

Calgary police reported that 10 churches in the city had been damaged overnight with orange and red paint. One just had a window broken in order for paint to be thrown inside. Police say painted handprints and the number “215”—a reference to the Tk’emlps te Secwepem’s initial discovery of unmarked graves in late May—suggest the damage was motivated by anger over the unmarked graves.

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1 Comment

  1. Winona gallop

    July 7, 2021 at 4:34 pm

    I’m one Canadian who is ashamed of the vandalism of our dear queens statue

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