University Ave. remains closed by Tamil protest
Published Tuesday, April 28, 2009 11:47PM EDT
University Avenue looks likely to remain closed during Wednesday mornng's hour due to a protest by the city's Tamil community.
Toronto police scuffled with some protesters on University Avenue on Tuesday morning as they attempted to clear the roadway's southbound lanes for emergency vehicle access.
One protester told CTV Toronto that things had been peaceful until Tuesday morning when police began pushing and shoving them. Tamil representatives claim two were injured.
Police say they are unaware of any injuries.
At 7 a.m., and with the co-operation of most of the protesters, police said they began moving the barricades to the east side of University.
"There may have been some misunderstanding as to what the intent of the police were at that time," Insp. Gary Meissner told CTV Toronto.
He said the crowd was told that police wanted to "reinforce the barricades."
Police say they will stay on scene to ensure a peaceful protest.
The protest first closed down University between Dundas and Queen Streets on Sunday night and continued all day Monday.
Police advised late Monday the roadway would likely be blocked through the morning rush hour on Tuesday.
The protest is one of many to be held by Toronto's Tamil community about the ongoing conflict in Sri Lanka between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
The LTTE have been fighting for a separate Tamil homeland on the island nation of Sri Lanka. The group is considered a banned terrorist organization in Canada.
However, some LTTE flags have been seen flying at the protests.
Supporters call the group a liberation army engaged in a battle with an oppressive opponent.
The protesters want the Canadian and U.S. governments, along with the United Nations, to pressure the Sri Lankan government to stop its military offensive against the LTTE.
Protesters promised to continue peaceful demonstrations until that goal is achieved.
With reports from CTV Toronto's Michelle Dube and Galit Solomon