Protesters in Montreal knock down John A. Macdonald statue and demand withdrawal of police funding

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MONTREAL – Protesters in Montreal knocked down and degraded a statue of John A. Macdonald at the end of a protest calling on cities to dismantle police services.

A spokesperson for the Montreal police force confirmed that the statue of Canada’s first prime minister was unlocked, demolished and sprayed with graffiti around 2:45 p.m.

Jean-Pierre Brabant said police were present but only intervened to ask the crowd to disperse over a loudspeaker.

No arrests were made.

The head of a statue of Sir John A. MacDonald is displayed following a demonstration in Montreal on Saturday August 29, 2020. Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS / Graham Hughes

The incident came at the end of a peaceful protest in which police estimated around 200 people demonstrated to call for the police to be defounded in what they called a day of action national.

Footage from the event shows crowds of protesters marching in the rain under umbrellas and carrying signs calling for changes.

The organizers, who call themselves the Coalition for the Liberation of BIPOC, are asking cities to cut their police budgets by 50%.

They say the embezzled funds could be used to invest in policing alternatives such as better mental health treatment, civilian conflict resolution services and trauma-based emergency services.

Calls for the withdrawal of police funding have increased in Canada and the United States in recent months after George Floyd died in a police stop in Minnesota.

Organizers said protests are also scheduled to take place in Toronto, London, Montreal, Fredericton, Moncton and Halifax.

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