Tamils Take to the Gardiner
Top photo by Miles Storey/Torontoist; bottom photo by Nick Kozak/Torontoist.
Not long before dusk on Sunday night, several thousand Tamil protesters flowed onto the Gardiner Expressway, shutting it down shortly thereafter, to protest the ongoing violence in Sri Lanka. The Gardiner would remain shut down until about midnight, when the protest migrated off the roads and on to Queen’s Park.
Torontoist’s coverage—complete with on-the-scene photos from our photographers, and wrapping up just after 3:30 a.m.—continues after the fold.
8:24 p.m.—Members of Toronto’s Tamil community have taken a page from Critical Mass’ books, and have effectively shut down the Gardiner Expressway; Toronto Police are now saying that “It is likely that the Gardiner Expressway will remain closed through the evening” [PDF]. Torontoist is on the scene now; according to photographer Nick Kozak, the protest is taking place near the Spadina on-ramp.
Photos by neilta from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.
9:01 p.m.—Torontoist’s Miles Storey and Nick Kozak are both on the Gardiner now, but Neil Ta (a member of Torontoist’s Flickr Pool) took the shots above from the balcony of his condo, at Bathurst and Queens Quay. More are in his Flickr set.
9:41 p.m.—And here’s an unbelievable video of the crowd rushing the Gardiner. (Hat tip to Dave Meslin.)
9:53 p.m.—Photographer Miles Storey is just getting back from the scene now; he says that, in the time he was there, and in spite of earlier news reports (from outlets like the Post) of assaults on police officers, he saw “no signs of any violence.” There’s some chanting, but it’s “like any other Tamil protest so far”: well-organized, a mix of families and individuals, and plenty of calm (like people drinking tea) amidst it all.
9:55 p.m.—Police Chief William Blair is expected to give a news conference at 10:30. David Miller, meanwhile, has issued a statement saying that “Toronto’s Tamil community is understandably concerned about what is happening to friends and family in Sri Lanka. They have an absolute right to make those concerns known and to protest. Endangering public safety by occupying the Gardiner or other public highways is not the right way to make that statement.”
Photos by Miles Storey/Torontoist.
10:02 p.m.—And here are a few of Miles Storey’s photos from right in the thick of it.