40,000 Tamils protest at Canadian parliamentApril 22nd, 2009 - 10:16 am ICT by IANS
Ottawa, April 22 (IANS) In one of the biggest demonstrations at the Canadian parliament, thousands of Tamils protested outside the House Tuesday to seek Canadian intervention to end the “carnage” of civilians in Sri Lanka.
Though the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) put the number of demonstrators at about 33,000, Tamil leaders said more than 40,000 protesters were present at the demonstration.
The Canadian capital was virtually jammed as buses carrying Tamil protesters poured into the city from Toronto, Montreal and other cities. Carrying black flags as a sign of mourning for those killed in Sri Lanka, the demonstrators beat drums as carried symbolic crosses and coffins. The inclement weather didn’t deter them as they chanted in unison: “No more genocide. Stop the war in Sri Lanka. We want ceasefire.”
The Tamils, who have been staging protests at parliament for more than two weeks now, held their biggest demonstration to coincide with the re-convening of the House after the Easter recess.
But no government leader came out to meet the protesters and their leaders. “We decided not to use the LTTE flag today because the government said it won’t meet us if protesters carried the flag of the banned outfit. Instead, we all came out with black flags, but still no government minister came out to meet us,” a Tamil leader told IANS.
“However, opposition leader Michael Ignatieff met us privately and said that Sri Lanka cannot win this war until they come out with a political solution to fulfil the aspirations of the Tamils,” the Tamil leader said.
Added Canadian Tamil Congress spokesman David Popalapillai, “We will not sleep and we will not rest till the carnage in Sri Lanka is stopped. With black flags, we are collectively mourning the mass deaths taking place in Sri Lanka.” He said, “Though they (the government) has not spoken to us, privately they say that the Sri Lanka file is their top priority. They say they taking the matter to the UN.”
The current Conservative Party government, which banned the LTTE as a terror organization in 2006, has been reluctant to take any firm stand on the Sri Lanka offensive despite the presence of the largest number of Sri Lankan Tamils after the island nation.
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