More than 10,000 pro-Tamil demonstrators are expected to converge on Queen’s Park at noon today and those who engage in any unlawful activity should be prepared to “face the consequences,” says Toronto Police Chief William Blair.
“I want to do everything I can to encourage them to be peaceful … to be respectful of the rights of their fellow citizens in the city of Toronto … but we can’t tolerate unlawful, dangerous activity,” Blair said.
“Our response will be entirely determined by their actions.”
Protesters insist today’s gathering will be peaceful. They say the assembly is intended to solicit an “active response” from the federal government to what the United Nations has called a bloodbath in Sri Lanka’s northern war zone.
The planned protest comes as a third day of intense shelling continued in Sri Lanka’s war zone yesterday, killing a reported 49 people waiting for treatment at the only medical facility left in the tiny coastal strip still under rebel control.
But in Toronto, a spokesperson for the Coalition to Stop the War in Sri Lanka would not rule out another drastic traffic-stopping demonstration similar to Sunday’s mass protest that shut down the Gardiner Expressway for seven hours.
“It’s hard to predict what will happen if the bloodbath in Sri Lanka continues,” said Senthan Nada.
Premier Dalton McGuinty said the protesters were welcome to use the front lawn of Queen’s Park for their demonstrations.