A rally, organized by the group Autonomy East, is set to be held Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. local time. In a Facebook event page, organizers urged people to “come together.”
“I think Charlottesville really speaks to a moment in which it’s necessary for grassroots mobilization to confront and challenge white supremacy and the far right,” Brad Vaughan, one member of the group, told Global News Monday.
Why is the protest being held at the Edward Cornwallis statue?
Edward Cornwallis is a soldier and politician who founded Halifax in 1749, but his legacy is much more complicated.
READ MORE: The man behind Halifax’s divisive debate
Cornwallis issued an order dubbed the “Scalping Proclamation” in October 1749, in response to an attack on colonists, which paid out a government-funded bounty to anyone who killed a Mi’kmaq adult or child. The death toll of the attacks that occurred is not known, according to the Canadian Encyclopedia, but dozens of people claimed rewards.
On the rally’s event page, organizers say the statue “has always been and continues to be a symbol of genocide and a rallying point for racism.”
WATCH: Calls to remove Halifax’s Cornwallis statue grow louder
Calls to take the statue down
There have been several calls to remove Cornwallis’ statue, which was erected in the 1930s. The statue is routinely vandalized, and was recently painted with the message ‘F*** 150’ as Canada celebrated its birthday in July.
Mi’kmaq historian Daniel Paul famously called for the statue to be removed in a book called “We Were Not the Savages,” in 1993.
About 100 protesters, known was “Removing Cornwallis,” gathered in front of the monument last month and handed Halifax Mayor Mike Savage a list of demands. The list, which was read aloud by the mayor in city council, called for the statue to be immediately removed, for a “Peace Assembly” to facilitate reconciliation and the creation of an Indigenous expert panel.
WATCH: Halifax government covers controversial statue with drape to appease protesters
While the statue has not been removed, it was briefly covered using a tarp.
‘Proud Boys’ controversy
Protests to take down the statue gained momentum in July, following an incident where five members of the Canadian Armed Forces — associated with “The Proud Boys, Maritime chapter” — interrupted an Indigenous ceremony mourning the atrocities committed against their community.
The ceremony was being held at the Cornwallis statue.
An investigation into the incident has wrapped up, but results have not yet been made public.
Will the statue be removed?
It’s still undecided what the final fate of the controversial statue will be.
Savage has said that calls to remove the statue are not backed by the Nova Scotia Assembly of Mi’kmaq Chiefs.
In July, he told reporters that the statue is an “impediment” to the city’s reconciliation process with Indigenous Peoples. He added that the problem must be solved, but there are several options to be considered such as taking it down, adding another statue, or taking it off the pedestal.
WATCH: A look at the group who protested an Indigenous ceremony in Halifax
The city is currently in the process of setting up a committee by September to look into the issue.
Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said last week that the federal government won’t be weighing in.
— With files from Global News reporter Sean Previl, The Canadian Press