Tamils to march on Canada’s parliament, stage candlelight vigils

By Gurmukh Singh, IANS,

Toronto : Tamils in Canada will march on the nation’s parliament and take out candlelight vigils across cities to mark Sri Lanka’s Independence Day Wednesday in protest against “genocide” in the island nation.

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Top political leaders are likely to address the rally being organized by the Canadian Tamil Congress and supported by 70-odd national bodies.

There are over 300,000 Sri Lankan Tamils in Canada, with most of them concentrated in the Toronto area.

“We want Canadian parliamentarians to intervene to stop the genocide of Tamils. Sri Lanka may be celebrating Feb 4 as its independence day, but we Tamils will mourn the loss of our innocent people killed by government forces,” Canadian Tamil Congress spokesperson David Poopalapillai told IANS.

He said the protest rally at parliament will highlight Sri Lanka’s gross violation of the Geneva Convention by targeting innocent Tamil civilians in the conflict zone.

Poopalapillai said, “The Canadian Tamil Congress is being supported by 70 national bodies, including the Postal Workers Union and the Canadian Federation of Students, as the world realize the gravity of the genocide in Sri Lanka.

“We want the Canadian people to play the kind of role that they played in dismantling apartheid in South Africa.

”Later a statement by the Canadian Tamil Congress said that over a quarter of a million Tamil civilians are trapped within a 300 square kilometre conflict zone and denied access to urgent medical care, and humanitarian aid.

“Tamil Canadians are deeply concerned about the fate of our loved ones back home who are facing immense hardships due to the escalating conflict,” the statement said.

“We beseech the Canadian government to intervene by urging the Sri Lankan government to immediately cease hostilities against the Tamil people and allow international aid to reach civilians.

”Candlelight vigils to be held in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver will be led by maintsrearm Canadian organisations, the statement said.