Statues of Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Victoria toppled during protests in Canada

The toppling of a statue of the Queen during protests in Canada over the discovery of unmarked graves of indigenous children has been condemned by Downing Street.

Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, Windsor

A statue of Queen Victoria was also pulled down during demonstrations in Winnipeg on Thursday amid growing anger over Canada’s notorious residential schools.

Some 150,000 indigenous children were sent to the institutions up to 1996, having opened in 1867, during Victoria’s reign. Many were subjected to cruel conditions under the policy of forced assimilation.

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Anger has spread after the remains of hundreds of children were found at unmarked graves at former residential schools.

A No 10 spokesman said: “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.”

Protesters cheered as the statue was brought down in Manitoba’s capital, amid cries of “No pride in genocide” and “Bring her down”.

Some stood on the statue’s empty plinth waving flags, while others covered the base in red handprints.