2009 Tamil Diaspora Protests in Canada - Major Events - Early Demonstrations

Early Demonstrations

In the Greater Toronto Area, local Tamil communities and organizations began to set up demonstrations by January 2009, following similar movements in the United Kingdom and India regarding the large civilian casualties from the Sri Lankan Civil War. Tamil Student Associations at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University staged demonstrations on campus to promote awareness of the ethnic conflict to fellow students. During the week of 25 January, several Tamil media outlets announced a strike, requesting all Tamils to not attend work or school during the week and take part in the protests that would happen in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary.

On 28 January, several Tamils gathered in front of the Consulate of Sri Lanka in Toronto to protest, with hopes to meet the consulate general. However, the consulate general, Bandula Jayasekara, reportedly termed the protesters as "terrorists" and refused to admit them. The protest resumed until the evening. The following day, 29 January, several protesters gathered in front of the Consulate of the United States throughout the day, appealing to the consulate general of the United States to pressure its government to take an action on ending the war.

The next demonstration took the form of a human chain which took place on 30 January in Downtown Toronto, comprising thousands of protesters. The length of the human chain was expected to stretch from Union Station to St. Patrick subway station. However the human chain stretched through parts of Yonge Street, Front Street and University Avenue, basically along 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) of the Yonge-University-Spadina line, amidst traffic and other pedestrians. Slogans such as "We want justice", "Sri Lanka, end the war" and "Canada help us" were chanted by the protesters across the streets. According to a Toronto Police Service spokesperson, "the protest took place in a very peaceful and orderly manner."

Read more about this topic:  2009 Tamil Diaspora Protests In Canada, Major Events

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