15 Tamil protesters arrested in Toronto

Toronto, April 30 (Inditop) Acting tough for the first time with Tamil protesters here, police arrested 15 of them Wednesday as they tried to push their way towards the American consulate.

Waving Canadian and LTTE flags, thousands of Tamils have been protesting outside the consulate since Sunday seeking US pressure on Sri Lanka to stop its offensive against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

With the beating of drums, they have been chanting ‘President Obama save the Tamils.’

Police swung into action Wednesday evening when the protesters tried to force their way past barricades to reach the consulate.

As cops tried to stop them, a scuffle broke out between them and young protesters. In the ensuing confrontation, police arrested 15 protesters as their leaders shouted for their release.

As the detained protesters were led away, police said they will be charged for scuffling with the cops.

Toronto’s University Avenue is shut down as thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils have been protesting there since Sunday after the LTTE declared a unilateral ceasefire.

The protesters have been trying to march to the US consulate to seek President Obama’s intervention to pressure Sri Lanka to respond to the LTTE’s ceasefire.

Earlier this month, thousands of Tamils demonstrated at the Canadian parliament to urge the government to impose sanctions against Sri Lanka and withdraw its high commissioner from Colombo.

But the Conservative party government, which banned the LTTE immediately after taking office in 2006, has so far refused to meet Canadian Tamil leaders.

More than 300,000 Sri Lankan Tamils have settled in Canada since the ethnic conflict started on the island nation 25 years ago.