Statue of the Queen toppled in Canada during protest over indigenous children deaths

2 July 2021, 11:56 | Updated: 2 July 2021, 15:49

A statue of Queen Elizabeth II was torn down during protests in Canada
A statue of Queen Elizabeth II was torn down during protests in Canada. Picture: Twitter
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

The statues of Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Victoria have been toppled in Canada during protests over the deaths of Indigenous children.

A group at the Manitoba legislature in Winnepeg attached rope around the statues, which had been covered in red paint, before pulling them down to the ground.

Outrage has been growing in the country over the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves belonging to First Nations peoples at Canadian schools.

But Downing Street said it "obviously condemns" the actions but that its "thoughts are with Canada's indigenous community" following the discovery.

A No10 spokesperson said: "We obviously condemn 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 with indigenous matters."

Protesters believe both royals resemble the face of Canada's colonial history.

Members of the group wore orange shirts to honour the Indigenous children sent to the country’s notorious residential schools, where kids were sent to be taught to "assimilate" into colonial society.

At least 150,000 Indigenous children were taken from their families to attend the schools over a century as part of the campaign by the Canadian government.

Starting in the early 20th Century, the policy to forcibly assimilate Indigenous children ran for decades, with the last school closing in 1996.

The system has been accused of depriving the children of their ancestral languages and exposing many to physical and sexual abuse from teachers and religious figures.

Protesters raised a banner in protest at the treatment of Indigenous children in Canada
Protesters raised a banner in protest at the treatment of Indigenous children in Canada. Picture: PA Images

A First Nations group in Canada found 182 sets of human remains in unmarked graves at one site on Wednesday, following reports of similar massive findings at two other church-run schools.

One site had more than 600 unmarked graves and another had 215.

Many of the schools were operated by Catholic institutions, which prompted Pope Francis to agree to meet Indigenous survivors.

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