About 2,000 people protesting the latest bloodshed in Sri Lanka’s civil war closed down one of Toronto’s busiest expressways Sunday evening, holding traffic and police at bay for about seven hours before clearing the road.
The protestors, most of them from Toronto’s Tamil community, converged on the Gardiner Expressway during the late afternoon, accessing the raised roadbed from the Spadina Avenue on ramp.
Placing children and the elderly on their frontline, the protestors stared down a police presence from a combined force of Toronto police, the Ontario Provinicial Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The group said they would not quit the expressway until they had talked with a representative from the federal government. They were eventually persuaded to leave around midnight after speaking with a representative from Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff’s office.
The protest subsequently wound its way up University Avenue, closing down traffic between Dundas Street and Queen Street West. By Monday morning a small group had gathered outside the Sri Lankan consulate at Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue.