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People attend a demonstration in Montreal, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, where they protested to defund the police with a goal to end all systemic racism within all sectors of the Canadian government.Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

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.

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.

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.

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