Hundreds of people wearing orange t-shirts gathered and witness the toppled of statues of Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Victoria and Captain Cook on Canada’s national day following the recent discovery of more than 1,000 unmarked graves of indigenous children at former residential schools.
A crowd chanted “no pride in genocide” before pulling down the statues of the British monarchs.
Canada day celebrates the anniversary of Canadian Confederation.
According to local media, at least one person was arrested after the statue of Queen Victoria was torn down.
The attacks on the statues in locations across Canada on Friday followed a series of church burnings as protesters expressed their anger at the organisations that had run the boarding schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, that indigenous children were forced to attend.
Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, member of the Canadian House of Commons and representing Nunavut said to The Guardian: “People across the country are waking up to the reality that Canada is a country built on the violent dispossession of Indigenous peoples.”
From the 19th century until the 1970s, more than 150,000 First Nations children were required to attend state-funded Christian schools as part of a program to assimilate them into Canadian society.
The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau denounced a wave of vandalism across Canada that saw churches damaged and statues of monarchs splashed with red paint and torn down.
I understand the anger that’s out there, against the federal government, against institutions like the Catholic Church,” he said
“It is real, and it is fully understandable given the shameful history” of Canada’s indigenous residential schools, he added.
Indigenous Canadian, who make up less than 5% of the population, face higher levels of poverty and violence and shorter life expectancies.