Marchers in Montreal toppled a statue of Canada's first prime minister Saturday and sent his head flying, the Montreal Gazette reports. The event began peacefully with about 200 activists walking through downtown in support of changes to police funding—but when they reached Place du Canada, a large urban square, people in the group pulled down John A. Macdonald's statue. A tweeted video shows onlookers screaming with delight as the head goes bouncing. "Sir John A. Macdonald was a white supremacist who orchestrated the genocide of Indigenous peoples with the creation of the brutal residential schools system, as well as promoting other measures that attacked Indigenous peoples and traditions," reads a leaflet handed to a CBC reporter.
The leaftlet also mentions an online petition with over 46,000 signatures urging Montreal's mayor to remove the statue. Quebec officials didn't respond well to the incident, with Premier François Legault tweeting that "whatever one might think of John A. Macdonald, destroying a monument in this way is unacceptable. We must fight racism, but destroying parts of our history is not the solution." Legault vowed to have the statue repaired and returned. No arrests were made, but police dispersed the crowd after Macdonald came down. The Montreal march was one of a nationwide group of protests assembled by the Coalition for BIPOC Liberation; BIPOC is an acronym for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. (Read more statues stories.)