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The Statue Of Halifax Founder Edward Cornwallis Is Still Standing, For Now

The city is considering what to do about the statue.

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Halifax briefly covered up a statue of city founder Edward Cornwallis over the weekend after protesters threatened to topple it.

Darren Calabrese / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Hundreds of protesters attended the "Removing Cornwallis" protest on Saturday in downtown Halifax, with event organizers describing it on Facebook as the peaceful removal of a statue that represents genocide.

Cornwallis was a British military commander who founded Halifax in 1749. That same year he issued a Scalping Proclamation, which offered colonists a bounty for the scalps of Mi'kmaw people.

Halifax, like the rest of Nova Scotia, is on the unceded land of the Mi'kmaq.

The Cornwallis statue remains standing, for now.

Darren Calabrese / THE CANADIAN PRESS

According to APTN, Halifax Mayor Mike Savage decided to cover the statue as a temporary measure after speaking with protest organizers. He said his main concern was safety and "allowing people to make their positions known without anybody getting hurt."

The Halifax city council voted earlier this year to set up an expert panel, including Mi'kmaq representatives, to decide the future of Cornwallis Park, where the statue is located. Savage has said he's open to the removal of the statue and a renaming of the park, as well as other outcomes that could reflect the overlapping histories of Indigenous people and settlers.

Organizers of the weekend protest issued a declaration that called for the city to immediately remove the Cornwallis statue, and to do more to "facilitate reconciliation and peace amongst all peoples."

The declaration also called for an expert panel to review civic symbols and naming in the city to "ensure they are respectful of the history of Indigenous Peoples."

Organizers want a progress report on the calls to action by October, which is Mi'kmaq History Month in Nova Scotia.

The city has already removed the black cloth on the statue, but protesters have been putting up their own tarps to keep it hidden from view.

#Cornwallis statue is still covered with the orange tarp that went up around 3 pm

This orange tarp was also reportedly removed. It's unclear if the city will tolerate further attempts to cover the statue. The mayor's office did not immediately respond to questions from BuzzFeed Canada.

The Cornwallis statue was the site of a confrontation on Canada Day between Indigenous people and members of the Proud Boys, a right-wing men's group that champions "Western chauvinism."

Chief Grizzly Mamma ask we pray for forgiveness and unity. #Resistance150 #canada150

The five Proud Boys, who are members of the Canadian army and navy, interrupted a ceremony marking the deaths of Mi'kmaq who were killed by Cornwallis's policies.

All five men are under investigation and face possible expulsion from the military.

Ishmael Daro is a social news editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Toronto.

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

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