Tamil Canadians organized a socially distanced car rally, condemning the recent destruction of the Mullivaikkal monument at Jaffna University.
The protestors took part in a car rally starting at Brampton City Hall with a final destination of Toronto City Hall in Queen’s Park.
Organizers estimate spotting roughly 4000 cars protesting in solidarity with Jaffna University students against the destruction of the memorial which was built to commemorate the lives lost during the Tamil liberation struggle.
In Jaffna, protests have recently grown, with one group of students choosing to embark on a hunger strike outside the University, demanding that the Mullivaikkal memorial be reconstructed after it was bulldozed by authorities yesterday evening.
Several Canadian MPs recently publicly condemned attempts to remove the Mullivaikkal memorial from Jaffna university. Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, François-Philippe Champagne, has said on Twitter:
Heartbroken to hear of the destruction of the monument at #Jaffna University to Tamil civilians who died at #Mullivaikkal in 2009. Remembrance is crucial to understanding and moving toward reconciliation.
Steven Del Duca, Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party has similarly condemned the destruction of the monument as an "attempt to erase history".
Destruction of the #MullivaikkalMemorial is an attempt to erase history, and strip the Tamil community of their ability to mourn their losses. Ontario Liberals stand with leaders around the world condemning the appalling actions of those responsible. https://t.co/pEGUaCDZwI
— Steven Del Duca (@StevenDelDuca) January 12, 2021
Bonnie Crombie, Mayor of Mississauga, has issued a statement of solidarity with the protesters stating on Twitter:
Tonight I’m thinking of the thousands of Tamil Canadians across the GTA. I stand alongside them in condemning the destruction of the #MullivaikkalMemorial. Denying a people the right to remember their history and honour those they’ve lost is unjust and simply unacceptable.
Ruby Sahota, MP for Brampton North, has also strongly criticised the destruction of the memorial monument, stating on Twitter:
I strongly condemn the destruction of the #MullivaikkalMemorial at #JaffnaUniversity. Security forces are occupying the university while students hold a hunger strike demanding answers. The govt must not deny the #Tamil people's right to remember their dead and right to protest. https://t.co/29HSBC4Zyw
— Ruby Sahota (@rubysahotalib) January 11, 2021
Andrea Horwath, leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party and the official Opposition, has criticised the destruction of the memorial monument and the erasure of the Tamil genocide:
I strongly condemn the destruction of the #MullivaikalMemorial and the blatant erasure of Tamil genocide.
The Tamil community has a right to mourn their lost ones, and pursue justice and accountability in this matter. https://t.co/1dv08QUPhP
— Andrea Horwath (@AndreaHorwath) January 10, 2021
John Tory, Mayor of Toronto, slammed the role of the Sri Lankan government in the destruction of the 'sacred' memorial monument:
Justice for the Tamil people does not mean destroying memorials. I have visited the sacred Mullivaikal site which saw the cruel loss of thousands of Tamils during the recent atrocities. (1/2) https://t.co/LpZVMdEIoy
— John Tory (@JohnTory) January 11, 2021