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Thousands gather for Pongu Tamil in Toronto urging freedom Special

Approximately 5 000 Tamils gather at Queen s Park in front of the Ontario Legislature for Pongu Tami...
Thousands of Tamils, alongside Canadian officials, gathered at Queen's Park outside of the Ontario Legislature for Pongu Tamil (Tamil Uprising). Supporters called for social justice, human rights and Tamil independence in Sri Lanka.
Toronto - It has been three years since Canadian Tamils marched the streets of Toronto and elsewhere around the world. Tens of thousands of Tamils across the globe are urging for the end of violence in Sri Lanka, calling for international investigations to the alleged war crimes committed during the final days of the war and demanding self-determination for Tamils in Sri Lanka.
On Saturday, approximately 5,000 Tamils gathered at Queen’s Park in Toronto in front of the Ontario Legislature. Alongside Canadian officials and members of various community organizations, Tamils took part in Pongu Tamil (Tamil Uprising) where they urged “Tamils Right to Self-Determination” and independence for Tamils.
Mohan Ramakrishnan  Chairman and National Director of the National Council of Canadian Tamils (L)  a...
Mohan Ramakrishnan, Chairman and National Director of the National Council of Canadian Tamils (L), and New Democratic Bramalea Gore Malton Member of Provincial Parliament, Jagmeet Singh.
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Representatives from the National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT) argue that the Sri Lankan government, led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, is detaining thousands of political prisoners, taking part in colonialism and conducting ethnic cleansing through Sinhalese settlements that are subsidized.
Neethan Shan, former Ontario New Democratic Party candidate and NCCT National Director and Vice Chairperson, explained that after 10 years of travelling around the world, Tamils are united in Queen’s Park. Tamils are standing in solidarity for the ultimate determination to ensure Sri Lanka is liberated, Tamil Eelam is free and occupying forces “leave our homeland.”
Thousands then showed their support by yelling “yes” when asked if Tamils are united or not.
“We remain unalloyed and unrepentant supporters of the uncompromisable principles of our national liberation struggle: homeland, nation, and self-determination,” said spokesperson for the National Council of Canadian Tamils, Krisna Saravanamuttu, in a prepared statement. “The struggle for freedom and self-determination are democratic principles mandated in the 1976 Vaddukkodai referendum, the Thimpu Declaration of 1985, and re-affirmed globally by the 2009 Vaddukkodai referendum.”
Former Ontario New Democratic Party candidate for Scarborough Rouge River  Neethan Shan.
Former Ontario New Democratic Party candidate for Scarborough Rouge River, Neethan Shan.
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The event saw various musical performances, speeches thanking the Tamil community and an appearance from the Occupy Toronto movement. Much of the crowd sported Canadian and Tamil Eelam flags and chanted slogans calling for freedom for Tamils.
“We see people wanting rights, I see people seeking justice and I see people that are crying and saying how come the people that perpetrated the atrocities in Sri Lanka are not brought to justice yet,” said Scarborough-Agincourt Liberal Member of Parliament Jim Karygiannis.
“The Sri Lankan government, like an ostrich, has stuck its head in the sand. If you were to come in by boat to this country and claim refugee status, we might put you away in prison for five years and might not allow you to land for another five years and when your family joins you, it will be another nine years.”
Scarborough-Agincourt Liberal Member of Parliament  Jim Karygiannis delivers address at Pongu Tamil ...
Scarborough-Agincourt Liberal Member of Parliament, Jim Karygiannis delivers address at Pongu Tamil rally.
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The multiculturalism critic also read a message from Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae where he congratulated the Tamil community for their determination and hard work and promised that the federal government will work harder to champion human rights.
Other speakers involved Saturday were John Cartwright, Toronto and York Region Labour Council president, Jagmeet Singh, New Democratic Party Bramalea-Gore-Malton Member of Provincial Parliament, and Carroll Eason of the United Steelworkers.
Peggy Nash, NDP Parkdale-High Park Member of Parliament and candidate for the NDP leadership, was invited to the event, but later declined to attend due to scheduling conflicts.
Sri Lanka’s Tamil National Alliance leaders travelled to the United States and Canada this week where they met members of the Obama administration, United Nations officials and Canadian community leaders.
Approximately 5 000 Tamils gather at Queen s Park in front of the Ontario Legislature for Pongu Tami...
Approximately 5,000 Tamils gather at Queen's Park in front of the Ontario Legislature for Pongu Tamil.
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Two Tamil supporters holding signs thanking various government  non-government and media agencies.
Two Tamil supporters holding signs thanking various government, non-government and media agencies.
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Approximately 5 000 Tamils gather at Queen s Park in front of the Ontario Legislature for Pongu Tami...
Approximately 5,000 Tamils gather at Queen's Park in front of the Ontario Legislature for Pongu Tamil.
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A supporter chanting for Tamil Freedom at Pongu Tamil.
A supporter chanting for Tamil Freedom at Pongu Tamil.
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Approximately 5 000 Tamils gather at Queen s Park in front of the Ontario Legislature for Pongu Tami...
Approximately 5,000 Tamils gather at Queen's Park in front of the Ontario Legislature for Pongu Tamil.
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Approximately 5 000 Tamils gather at Queen s Park in front of the Ontario Legislature for Pongu Tami...
Approximately 5,000 Tamils gather at Queen's Park in front of the Ontario Legislature for Pongu Tamil.
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Approximately 5 000 Tamils gather at Queen s Park in front of the Ontario Legislature for Pongu Tami...
Approximately 5,000 Tamils gather at Queen's Park in front of the Ontario Legislature for Pongu Tamil.
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Tamils performing a ritual Tamil dance at Pongu Tamil.
Tamils performing a ritual Tamil dance at Pongu Tamil.
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8 comments

#1Oct 31, 2011 Hans Smedbol
Thanks Andrew for this continuing coverage of the Sri Lankan Tamil issues.....i wish them well, but i am afraid of the direction that our Fascist Prime Minister is taking us, refugee claimant wise....
#2Oct 31, 2011 Caroline Vimla
"Tens of thousands of Tamils across the globe are urging for the end of violence in Sri Lanka, calling for international investigations to the alleged war crimes committed during the final days of the war and demanding self-determination for Tamils in Sri Lanka."
Rajapaksa has to answer to all the terrible atrocities and war crimes committed against the Tamils in Sri Lanka. Instead of doing that, he is 'hiding' behind China and India.
It is indeed sad that both these nations have sold their conscience (if the leaders had it at the first place!) in support of Sri Lanka for their own political and economic gains. The blood of those who suffered and thousands who died in Sri Lanka is on their hands as well.
I am actually puzzled that when the Jews were exterminated, the whole world watched and did nothing....and, when the same was done in Sri Lanka against Tamils, status quo...the whole world watched. It is like the entire human race is in 'support' of 'ethnic cleansing'.
Any world or spiritual leader who does not speak up against any form of genocide, in his/her own country and elsewhere, is not a human at the first place to even represent the people of his/her country.
My thoughts and prayers for all the Tamils in Sri Lanka and those who were forced to leave due to the slaughtering that took place there.
I stand in solidarity with them in their efforts to seek for justice. Justice will certainly prevail one day.
"Valzhu Tamil" ( Long live Tamil)
#3Oct 31, 2011 Caroline Vimla
I really respect Canada and Norway for always being on the forefront in speaking up for the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
May God bless these nations and their people abundantly.
#4Oct 31, 2011 Hans Smedbol
Caroline: some people in Canada speak up for them...but about 30% (the low browed Neanderthaler Conservative voters, who are ignorant prejudiced and bigoted against any strangers, especially if brown) have been complaining about the Tamil refugee claimants arriving on our shores, demanding that our government deny them entry, or lock them up as Tamil Tigers (due process free of course)...and the Conservative/Fascist government has been encouraging this with their disgusting innuendos and outright false statements about the status of the Tamil refugee claimanst, BEFORE they been examined and checked out, in other words...due process free judgements with no evidence to back them up.... for my articles on the Tamil refugee claimants in Canada, see:
http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/291564
http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/296000
http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/297186
http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/301059
andrew has been one of the voices of reason supporting their efforts to attain justice....as have i....having written several articles earlier about the issue when it was fresh...just after the Tamils were brought to the Canadian port under the escort of the navy and coastguard....we USED to be more as you said above, but the Conservative/Fascists are trying to move us backwards into the times when people were excluded from our country based on skin colour, and prejudices about their value as human beings....
most Canadians welcome immigrants, or at least don't actively oppose them, but a significant number of bigots do make trouble.
#5Oct 31, 2011 Hans Smedbol
i guess it comes down to the necessity of keeping government's toes in the fires to keep them "honest" and doing the job they were hired for....
#6Oct 31, 2011 Caroline Vimla
Thanks for the links to your articles Hans.
"most Canadians welcome immigrants, or at least don't actively oppose them, but a significant number of bigots do make trouble."
That is normal in any part of the world. Humans, like most other species, are territorial too.
The most important person is the leader of the country. And, Canadian PM, Mr. Stephen Harper, has been the sole Commonwealth leader to speak up bravely during the recent CHOGM. I truly admire his courage and his relentless efforts to ask Rajapaksa to face the charges of war crimes.
Malaysian and Singaporean leaders were there as well but of course did not utter a word.
In fact , the next CHOGM meeting in 2013 would be held in Colombo and Mr. Stephen has openly stated that he would boycott it unless Rajapaksa "allows an independent investigation into allegations that the Sri Lankan military engaged in indiscriminate shelling of civilians and bombed hospitals in 2009."
So, we know which leaders are turning a blind eye and deaf ear, and which one is more humane. It is not easy to stand alone like Mr. Stephen did despite the lack of support from other leaders.
The whole world was privy to all that happened. What kind of leaders are these?? Those who pretended it never happened are condoning genocide.
#7Oct 31, 2011 Hans Smedbol
thanks Caroline for that bit about Stephen Harper's comments at the Commonwealth summit....i had heard a little on the radio...but since he has been so difficult in the immigration department, especially with regard to the Tamil refugee claimants who arrived on ships last year and earlier, i had not really listened, i suppose, to the story on the radio, although i do remember reacting in amazement at his resolution...
Mr. Harper is not so troubled by standing alone, because that's the kind of guy he is...he is one of the most powerful leaders around, even more powerful in a way, than the US president, since he has such a strong majority in the Parliament....people here call him King Harper sometimes, although really, i suppose, it should be King Stephen...he runs his government with an iron fist, and there is no question at all of who is the boss.
Mr. Harper is sometimes a surprising man to me, in that although in most things he is a very right wing conservative/fascistic type, and a high scoring RWA as well, i would suggest, even though these things, he occasionally comes up with some policy or other, which when i hear it, i have to simply sit up and clap my hands in amazement that he came up with that item....He is a complex man it seems, rather than your knee-jerk Fascist, although in some ways he conforms to that image, with some of his legislation...At least he appears to be somewhat better for us than those American Republican types would...
why did you mention Norway? because they have been demanding investigations too? they did send observers at various times, some of whom were seriously threatened by the Rajapaksa regime.
also from what i understand,
#8Oct 31, 2011 Hans Smedbol
sorry about that unfinished sentence above....don't remember what i was going to say even...

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