This is a short interview with Cheyanne Thorpe, an Indigenous woman and resident of Waterloo Region, who has been organising protests and public pressure against the placement of the Sir John A MacDonald statue in a public park in Baden Ontario. The statue, part of the “prime ministers walk” project was located in Baden with little support, after residents in Kitchener and Waterloo rejected the idea that the project be built in their cities.
In recent weeks, Cheyanne has organised sit-in protests at the statue and has spoken to town council about the negative impacts of displaying statues which honour unapologetically racist and genocidal leaders like MacDonald (the first prime minister of canada and one who led genocidal projects in an effort to eliminate Indigenous peoples, nations, and cultures). With public support for the statue removal growing, Cheyanne has vowed to continue the protests until the statue is removed and the rest of the project cancelled.
The protests against the statue has also brought out local racists and white-nationalists who have tried to intimidate protest attendees and have posted confederate and nazi imagery in the area. In addition to an old man who started to attack protest participants (before being restrained) and a small group of local teens who have participated in the intimidation attempts, known white nationalist gang “the urban infidels” have also been involved in the confrontations and intimidation. Led by the man who violently attacked Pride events in Hamilton in 2019, chris vanderweide, the infidels also had ben mills, leigh stewart, and rijah martin.
This interview took place June 27th as the sit-in was wrapping up for the day.
More information about the group organising to remove the statue:
The petition to have the statue removed and the larger project cancelled.
This interview first aired on AW@L Radio on July 3rd 2020. for more AW@L Radio check: http://grandrivermc.ca