KINGSTON -- A statue of Sir John A. Macdonald has been removed from its pedestal in a downtown Kingston, Ont. park.

Dozens of people gathered in City Park to watch crews take down the statue of Canada's first prime minister in his hometown. The statue came down around 9 a.m. Friday.

Kingston city council voted this week to remove the 125-year-old statue from the park and place it into storage, then put it up in Cataraqui Cemetery, where Macdonald is buried.

On Friday morning, about 75 people gathered to watch city crews work to remove the statue starting around 6 a.m. The crowd included people for and against the statue's removal.

Indigenous groups gathered for a drum circle in the park. Among them was Lisa Cadue, who has been at the park for a sacred fire and ceremony near the statue.

"Now all First Nations people can walk by here and say the city of Kingston did right by our people."

Nearby, a small group holding Canadian flags and playing bagpipes briefly blocked the work.

They moved after police on site spoke with them.

Kingston resident John Ryder-Burbidge said he felt "betrayed" by the council's decision.

"I think this is a triumph of woke social activism over democracy."

Council voted to remove the statue because of Macdonald's role as an architect of Canada's residential school system, which took Indigenous children from their families.

The statue was erected in 1895.