Tamil protesters including women with babies in strollers shut down both lanes of a downtown Toronto highway last night and were demanding to meet with an official from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office.

Hundreds of people sat down on the Gardiner Expressway linking arms, chanting “No More Genocide” a reference to the civil war in their native Sri Lanka.

Woman and young girls took over the front row of the protest, sitting within a few metres of 60 police dressed in full riot gear, including batons and shields.

More than 100 police including some on horseback contained the crowd to a narrow area on the elevated roadway near the Spadina Road ramp.

Protest spokesman Siva Vimal met with a Toronto police negotiator and vowed to stay on the road until they met with a federal official.

Both eastbound and westbound lanes of the usually busy Gardiner Expressway were blocked and police said they expected it to remain closed for the evening.