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Montreal activists take aim at John A. Macdonald statue

Click to play video: 'Montreal activists take aim at John A. Macdonald statue' Montreal activists take aim at John A. Macdonald statue
WATCH: A group claiming responsibility for defacing the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald in Place du Canada is hoping the city of Montreal will remove the monument from the park – Aug 17, 2018

A statue of Sir John A. Macdonald located at Place du Canada in downtown Montreal was vandalized overnight.

A video of the statue of Canada’s first prime minister being spray-painted red was posted online after it was sent anonymously to various independent media outlets in Montreal on Friday.

The organization claiming responsibility for the action refers to itself as a group of “unnamed anti-colonial vandals.”

WATCH: A statue of John A. Macdonald in downtown Montreal has once again been vandalized with red paint. As Global’s Dan Spector reports, anonymous activists are calling for the removal of the statue of the first prime minister of Canada from Place du Canada.

Click to play video: 'John A. Macdonald statue vandalized in downtown Montreal' John A. Macdonald statue vandalized in downtown Montreal
John A. Macdonald statue vandalized in downtown Montreal – Aug 17, 2018

A communique — left near the vanadalized monument — states the group is showing its support for the removal of a John A. Macdonald statue in Victoria last week.

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It is not the first time the Montreal statue has drawn the ire of activists. It was also spray-painted red in November of last year.

READ MORE: Activists deface statue of Sir John A. Macdonald in downtown Montreal

It is unclear whether the same group is responsible for both actions, but the motive remains unchanged.

The anonymous group is hoping the city of Montreal will remove the statue, arguing it should be in a museum and not on display in public spaces.

“Public space should celebrate collective struggles for justice and liberation, not white supremacy and genocide,” a statement posted to Facebook reads.

WATCH BELOW: City of Victoria removes John A. Macdonald statue

Click to play video: 'City of Victoria removes John A. Macdonald statue' City of Victoria removes John A. Macdonald statue
City of Victoria removes John A. Macdonald statue – Aug 11, 2018

READ MORE: ‘You can’t erase history’— McKenna weighs in on removal of statues like Sir John A. Macdonald

The activists argue John A. Macdonald was a “white supremacist.”

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“He directly contributed to the genocide of Indigenous peoples with the creation of the brutal residential schools system, as well as other measures meant to destroy native cultures and traditions.”

In a statement to Global News, the city of Montreal said removing the statue is not the answer.

“It’s not by removing the statue of Macdonald that we will move toward reconciliation, but by adding cultural references and recognizing the historic contributions of indigenous people to life in Montreal.”

Nakuset, a Montreal-based indigenous rights activist who runs the Native Women’s shelter, believes the monument needs to go.

“If you really want to reconcile here in Quebec, don’t glorify people that hurt us,” she told Global News, adding her mother was a victim of the residential school system implemented by Macdonald.

“He’s got this really long history of being incredibly cruel to indigenous people.”

READ MORE: ‘Statues are not history’ considering the removal of Sir John A. Macdonald

Public opinion in Montreal is mixed.

“It’s a tricky question because it’s Canada’s history as well,” said Laura Jones, visiting from Winnipeg.

“I think we should take it down,” Antoine Racine said.

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Although he agrees with the message, he questions the methods used by the vandals.

“Vandalism is not a good way,” he said, proposing instead a peaceful march, or a petition to get the conversation started.

“Talking about things gets things changed, not having a statue painted red. And now our money has to pay for the cleaning of it.”

City crews were removing the paint Friday afternoon and expect to be done sometime Saturday.

LISTEN: Danielle Smith asks if we are erasing Canada’s history

Montreal police spokesperson Raphael Bergeron said they are aware of the video had have launched an investigation into the incident.

As of Friday afternoon, Bergeron said police have no witnesses and no suspects.

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— With files from Global’s Dan Spector

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