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A crowd of Tamils estimated at 500 to 1,000 occupied a Toronto highway to protest events in the ongoing civil war in Sri Lanka. There, recent fighting between government forces and the insurgent group the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has resulted in massive civilian casualties. A UN spokesman called the affair “a bloodbath.”
Sri Lankan refugees have charged the international community with inaction in the face of civilian slaughter. Canada, for its part, sent the Minister of International Cooperation Bev Oda to Sri Lanka last week. Although she expressed concern with the “dire” humanitarian crisis, she ruled out talks with any of the Tigers’ representatives. The United States, the EU and over 30 additional countries consider the Tigers a terrorist organization.
At over 250,000, the Tamil population is one of Canada’s fastest growing minority groups, and constitutes the world’s largest Sri Lankan diaspora. Approximately 200,000 live in metropolitan Toronto alone.
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