08/29/2020 18:11 EDT | Updated 08/31/2020 16:56 EDT

Montreal Demonstrators Pull Down John A. Macdonald Statue At Police Defunding Protest

About 200 people were at the peaceful protest and police said no arrests were made.

MONTREAL — Protesters in Montreal toppled and defaced a statue of John A. Macdonald at the end of a demonstration calling on cities to defund police departments.

A spokesman for the Montreal police confirmed the statue of Canada’s first prime minister was unbolted, pulled down and sprayed with graffiti at around 2:45 p.m.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press
The statue of Sir John A. MacDonald is shown torn down following a demonstration in Montreal on Saturday.

Jean-Pierre Brabant said police were on hand but did not intervene other than to ask the crowd to disperse on a loudspeaker.

No arrests were made.

The incident came at the end of a peaceful protest in which police estimate some 200 people marched to call for police defunding as part of what they called a nationwide day of action.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press
Police officers are shown at the scene next to the statue of Sir John A. MacDonald after it was torn down following a demonstration in Montreal.

Images from the event show a crowd of protesters marching in the rain under umbrellas and carrying signs demanding change.

The organizers, who call themselves the Coalition for BIPOC Liberation, are asking for cities to reduce their police budgets by 50 per cent.

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

Calls to withdraw funding from police forces have multiplied in both Canada and the United States in recent months after the death of George Floyd during a police stop in Minnesota.

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

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 29, 2020.

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