Tamil protesters shut down major Ottawa street
Police officers are lining streets in downtown Ottawa again today, as Tamil protesters shut down a major street for the third day in a row.
The group of Tamil activists wants the Canadian government to intervene in what supporters call the Sri Lankan government's genocide against Tamil people.
"My uncle was killed during the air force bombing by Sri Lankan people, and he just had a month-old baby," said Genit Jeyakanthan, a Tamil-Canadian.
"We spoke with my aunt after and she was crying saying how they have nothing left."
Protesters took to the streets again this morning, closing Wellington Street in both directions between Elgin and O'Connor Streets.
Officers are on hand to keep the crowd under control, positioning themselves around the perimeter of the protest to prevent further road closures.
Westbound OC Transpo and STO buses are currently being detoured to Albert Street, while eastbound routes are being detoured to Slater Street.
A similar protest caused traffic snarls along Wellington and Elgin Streets near Parliament Hill on Tuesday and Wednesday.
So far, there have been no reports of confrontation.
"Right now the emotions of a lot of the Tamil-Canadians here in Canada are running on high . . . this is the first time it's actually got to the point where we've disobeyed law," Tamil youth activist Sahab Jesuthasan told CTV Ottawa during an earlier rally on Parliament Hill.
"If the Tamils get eradicated in Sri Lanka, we won't have a homeland or culture to call our own," he said.
The United Nations estimates up to 190,000 people are trapped in the war zone, with dozens dying every day.
Jesuthasan says his group wants the Canadian government to send a representative to Sri Lanka to address the issue.
"We want Canada . . . to be the forefront to call the ceasefire. We want Canada to also place economic sanctions on Sri Lanka and also to extradite the Sri Lanka military from the Tamil homeland and give Tamils the right to self-determination."
"We will continue to be here protesting until the government takes some sort of action, or until we're forced to leave."
The rebels have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for ethnic minority Tamils, who have faced decades of marginalization by successive governments controlled by ethnic Sinhalese. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.
Government forces in Sri Lanka have been saying for months they are in a final push to defeat the rebels and end the war after a string of major victories in which the rebel administrative capital and main bases were captured.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Vanessa Lee and files from The Associated Press