Protesters tear down statue of John A. Macdonald in downtown Montreal

Aug 30 2020, 8:35 am

A statue of John A. Macdonald has been torn down during demonstrations pushing to defund the police department in Montreal on Saturday.

Video of the event shows the monument, surrounded by banners, being toppled as protesters pull on a long pink line tied around the statue.

Cheers erupt as it bounces off the ground, sending Macdonald’s head flying.

The protests that took place yesterday were part of a nationwide series of marches that aim to defund police departments across the country.

 

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Political leaders across Quebec were quick to condemn the action.

“Whatever one might think of John A. MacDonald, destroying a monument in this way is unacceptable,” Premier François Legault wrote on Twitter in French. “We must fight racism, but destroying parts of our history is not the solution.

He added that he thinks the statue should be restored.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante also condemned the action, but suggests that context and representation can reframe the discussion around these type of monuments.

“Some historical monuments, here as elsewhere, are at the heart of current emotional debates,” she said on social media. “I reiterate that it’s better to put them in context rather than remove them. I am also in favour of adding monuments that are more representative of the society to which we aspire.”

The city’s public art office will be coordinating the future conservation of the statue.

“In consultation with the city’s heritage experts, we will take the time to analyze the next steps to be taken,” Plante said.

Montreal police are also reportedly investigating the incident.

The statue has been a repeated site of vandalism and controversy, as a petition garnering over 11,000 signatures asking for it to be removed was created in July.

A few days later, another statue depicting Macdonald was covered in pink paint in Toronto during a separate demonstration.

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