A statue of Canadian educator Egerton Ryerson, located at Ryerson University in Toronto, was toppled this weekend and beheaded by extremists who threw the monument in Toronto harbour.
The toppling of the statue came amid protests in the city over what are believed to be 215 unmarked children’s graves found on the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc First Nations reserve in Kamloops, British Columbia. The discovery has been claimed as a mass grave in some media reports, such as the BBC, despite a press conference last week clarifying they are believed to be a series of individual graves.
The statue was pulled down in the late afternoon on Sunday after years of controversy over Ryerson’s role in the implementation of the residential school system in Canada.
According to a report from CTV, in 2010 Ryerson university stated that Ryerson himself had not personally implemented or overseen any residential schools, but years later the university acknowledged Ryerson had influenced the residential school system.
The reported graves in Kamloops were located by a major residential school that had opened several years after Ryerson’s death.
The statue of Ryerson, which was also attacked last July during Black Lives Matter protests, was vandalised with paint earlier in the week before it was torn down by protesters and subsequently beheaded and thrown into Toronto harbour.
According to the Toronto Star, the president of Ryerson University in Toronto Mohamed Lachemi stated on Monday that the university has no plans to replace the statue and said he was relieved that no one had been hurt while toppling the statue.
The university had already been considering removing the statue and is also investigating possibly renaming Ryerson University as well.
Toronto police, meanwhile, have stated that they are investigating the toppling of the statue. Ontario Conservative Premier Doug Ford and Toronto Mayor John Tory have yet to make any comment on the toppling of the statue.
The toppling and beheading of the statue of Egerton Ryerson came nearly a year after a statue of Canada’s first Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald was toppled and beheaded in Montreal last August by far-left activists.
Sir John A., like Ryerson, is linked to residential schools and the reported discovery in Kamloops has led to another statue of the former Prime Minister being removed in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island last week.
WATCH: Statue of Canada’s First Prime Minister Ripped Down, Decapitated by ‘Abolish the Police’ BLM Supporters https://t.co/1PaHTSnW8t
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Greg Rivard, a local councillor in Charlottetown, justified the move saying, “A statue is not history. By removing Sir John A., it’s not removing any history.”
“I see some comments on social media [saying] that you can’t erase history, but I don’t think removing a statue erases any history. A statue is symbolic of something, and I don’t think right now that the statue is symbolic of the right things,” he added.