Protestors topple down British monarchy statues in Winnipeg protest
By Maryam Razzaq
The protests called, ‘No Pride in Genocide’ was held in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba on July 1 to protest the celebration of Canada Day in the wake of upwards of 1,000 bodies of Indigenous children being found in former Residential schools across the country.
A small group of individuals who attended the protests covered the Queen Victoria statue in red handprints and left signs that stated, “We were children once. Bring them home”. The intent of the protests was to peacefully honour the thousands of children who died at Residential Schools across Canada. In several videos released on social media, protestors can be heard saying, “no pride in genocide” and “bring her down” as Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II statues were toppled down.
Both royal statues were toppled over as the British monarchy are seen as having a large role in Canada’s violent and dark colonial history and Indigenous genocide.
The toppling of both statues caused a reaction of condemnation from a spokesperson for the British government.
“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” a British government spokesman said.
“Violence and destruction is not the Indigenous way! Never was…Our teachings were sacred and these teachings were part of the culture that was being destroyed by Residential School and the government. We followed great sacred teachings of love, respect, strength, truth, honesty, courage and humility! I will condemn the people as they are hurt mentally and emotionally because the truth that came out is hurtful and damaging and people experience post-traumatic stress disorder. We have to acknowledge the truth and address the truth! And then move to reconciliation” said Chief Davis Monias of the Pimicikamak Cree Nation.
Indigenous leaders understand the grief, anger and painful history of Canada’s Residential Schools. And, with daily discoveries of mass graves of children, barely closed wounds, are beginning to open wider.
The Indigenous leaders who took part in organizing the protests yesterday condemned the toppling of the statues, as the true intent and purpose of the protest were to encourage dialogues around the ongoing legacy of the Residential Schools.