Yesterday's protest was the second demonstration in the city in less than a week, following days of protests in Ottawa earlier this year. The Canadian rallies have coincided with similar protests in France, Sweden, and Britain. In London on Monday, pro-Tamil demonstrators clashed with police outside Parliament.
From the tropics to the 'Great White North'
Toronto is home to the largest expatriate Tamil community outside Sri Lanka, estimated to be 300,000. Tamils first began flocking to Canada as refugees in the 1980s. The city has not only become a focal point for protests, but it's also a bastion of political and financial support for the Tamil Tigers, the militant group that has led the fight for an independent Tamil nation in Sri Lanka's northern region.
The Canadian government added the Tamil Tigers to its official list of terrorist organizations in 2006 for the group's use of child soldiers and suicide bombers. Thirty-two nations, including the US, also consider the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terrorists.
Yet many attending yesterday's rally say that Canada should be taking a lead in calling for a cease-fire in a violent conflict the United Nations describes as a "bloodbath."