Protestors, angry at the discovery of unmarked indigenous Canadian graves at residential schools have toppled statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II in dissent.
The mainly peaceful protestors cheered as Queen Victoria’s statue at the legislature in Manitoba’s capital Winnipeg was upended and one of Queen Elizabeth II that was nearby was toppled.
The protest took place on Canada Day, an annual celebration on 1 July that marks the country’s founding by British colonies in 1867.
In a statement, the British government condemned the toppling of the statues.
“We obviously condemn any defacing of statues of the Queen,” the BBC reports a spokesman as saying.
The spokesman added; “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.”
In the space of less than a month, two massive unmarked graves site has been discovered in Canada at former residential schools. In one discovery, 751 unmarked graves were found, while the other contained 215 graves.
Residential schools were government-funded and church-run boarding schools, which were set up in the 19th century to assimilate them and operated until the late 1990s. Many children were forcibly separated from their families to be placed in the schools.