Protesters cheered as a controversial statue of Halifax’s founder was covered with a tarp on Saturday.

A city-owned truck helped drape the tarp over the statue of Edward Cornwallis, who founded the city in 1749.

The Mi’kmaq people have long called for removal of the statue in Halifax’s Cornwallis Park due to actions some refer to as a form of genocide. After founding the city, Cornwallis issued a bounty on Mi’kmaq scalps.

Some organizers said they wanted to see the statue taken away, but Indigenous elders advised against it.

"(The elders) didn't say take him down in violence. They said we want him taken down in our way," organizer Elizabeth Marshall told the crowd. "We want to take him down in love. We want to counteract their hatred."

A call to action was read out at the protest that includes the removal of the Cornwallis statue, the hosting of a peace assembly to facilitate reconciliation and the creation of an Indigenous-Halifax expert panel.

Organizers said they want the changes to be made by October and if not, they will come back to the park to protest.

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage was present at the protest and received the call to action. He said he will bring the demands to city council on Tuesday.

"We have begun a process over the last little while with the Mi'kmaq community within Halifax on a number of issues and I want that to continue," Savage said. "The statue is obviously an impediment to that progress, so I think it has to be resolved."

Savage also said the tarp would remain on the statue for the day before being taken down.

With files from the Canadian Press