Lankan Tamil protest in Canada enters fourth day

April 30th, 2009 - 12:49 pm ICT by ANI  

Toronto, Apr 30 (ANI): The protest by Tamil people living in Canada, who want the West to broker a ceasefire between the Sri Lankan Army and the separatist Tigers, entered its fourth day on Wednesday with police refusing to break up the protest as long as it remains peaceful.

Hours later demonstrators tried to push their way north of University Avenue. The police arrested 15 people and drove the crowd back.

“We had identified an area that we thought, in our view, enabled the protesters to make their points in a way that was consistent with public safety,” said Mark Pugash, Director of public information. “For some reason, it appears, some people chose to break out of that area.”

Constable Tony Vella, another police spokesman, said the demonstration has police being very careful about what they do.

“You don’t want this, basically, to turn ugly. It could be a volatile situation,” Globe and Mail quoted him, as saying.

The 15 people face charges for mischief and breaching the peace.. Pugash expects the stretch of University Avenue will remain closed throughout Wednesday night and into Thursday morning.

Police say the protesters have no permit, but that they are not breaking any laws, other than some noise bylaws. Legal experts say that may not be the case.

Pugash refused to speculate on what police could do to get protesters off the street, saying the goal of officers is to maintain the peace, minimize the traffic impact and support the right to protest.

The protest, which began Monday, is the largest along the street in a decade. For nearly three months in 1999, Serbian protesters gathered outside the US consulate to protest a NATO bombing campaign, a demonstration that sent two officers to hospital and cost taxpayers 2.1million dollars in police overtime. (ANI)

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