Flag flap over Tamil protest

The spectre of a banned terrorist group having taken part in a protestthat shut down the Gardiner Expressway was raised by the Conservativegovernment yesterday as Tamil-Canadians defended their controversialdemonstration and said more action would be taken.

The spectre of a banned terrorist group having taken part in a protest that shut down the Gardiner Expressway was raised by the Conservative government yesterday as Tamil-Canadians defended their controversial demonstration and said more action would be taken.

The fight yesterday involved a flap over flags as Minister of International Co-operation Bev Oda said she noticed Tamil Tiger flags at the protests, including another one that shut down a major thoroughfare by the provincial legislature.

The Tamil Tigers were labelled a terrorist group by the federal government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2006.

Later in the day, Oda’s tone was tempered, saying that while she saw flags belonging to the terrorist wing of the Tamils, the humanitarian needs in Sri Lanka should be the focus.

“I think the major issue, the primary issue here is the concern of the civilian victims in Sri Lanka.”

Some protesters chanted their support for the Tamil Tigers at Sunday’s highway demonstration.

The thousands of people who flooded onto the Gardiner Expressway left only after receiving assurances the Liberals would raise their plight in Parliament, which both they and the NDP did during question period yesterday.

In a statement, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said he would continue to press the Conservatives on the humanitarian crisis, but distanced the party from the demonstration itself.

The frustration over Sri Lanka’s civil war boiled over after reports an all-night artillery barrage in the country's war zone killed more than 370 people and forced thousands to flee to makeshift shelters along a beach.

Protesters in Canada dispute the number, saying the death toll is in the thousands.

 
 
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