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Tamil Eelam flag flown in Toronto protest legal - Canadian Police

The use of Eelam Tamil national flag did not contravene any law in Canada, according to a report by CBC News which cited Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash.
Citing the ban on the LTTE, some representatives of the Sri Lankan government, who have been over-sensitive to any demonstration of overwhelming Tamil diaspora support to Tamil nationalism, have been demanding a ban on the national flag of the Eelam Tamils, seeing it an opportunity of dismembering Tamil nationalism.

Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in Canada, Dayanada Perera, last week in an interview with the country's foreign policy newsweekly, Embassy, called on Canadian authorities to crack down on public protests by the "Tigers".

"The steps of Parliament were awash in a sea of red flags emblazoned with a roaring tiger in front of two crossed rifles," said the magazine describing the massive human chain and the rally held in Toronto by the Canadian Tamils.

"Your government should have climbed down and not permitted them to wave the LTTE flags because it's a banned terrorist organization," Mr. Perera was quoted as saying.

Deepak Obhrai, the parliamentary secretary for the foreign affairs minister told the magazine that he had received Perera's complaints, but the government does not plan to take any action against the protests.

He said that LTTE funding channels from Canada have been blocked and that the government has cut all contact with the group, but no action will be taken against peaceful LTTE protests.

The national of flag of the Eelam Tamils, described as symbolizing the political, social and cultural aspirations of the Tamils of Sri Lanka was declared in 1990 by the LTTE, at a time when it was not banned by any government.

The flag was also differentiated from the LTTE emblem by having no legend on it. There is no red colour background in LTTE emblem, which is differentiated from the national flag. The fighting formations of the LTTE have their own regiment specific flags, which are identified as military flags of the movement.

The national flag soon got into wide use with the masses and became a symbol of their nationalist aspirations.

"There is nothing wrong in the Tamil nation raising its national flag. The Tamil national flag is not the Tigers’ flag but it is the Tamil people’s flag," was the message of religious leaders who resisted the opposition by the Sri Lankan military to hoist the Tamil Eelam flag during the peace process in SLA controlled territory.

Yellow signifies that Tamils' aspiration to freely govern themselves in their own homeland is a fundamental political and human right. The colour expresses the righteousness of Tamil struggle and reinforces Tamil Nation's will to uphold moral high ground during its path towards freedom, according to a guidebook published by the Tamil Eelam civil administration.

Red represents that egalitarianism should be the spiritual principle. The Tamils should abolish distinctions of caste and class. Gender equality should permeate Tamil society, the description says. "The revolutionary changes necessary to spread social justice represented by these principles are reflected by this colour."

"Black signifies determination and resoluteness of the Eelam Tamil Nation."

"White demands purity, honesty and selflessness from the members of the Eelam Tamil Nation."

32 years ago, in 1976, LTTE leader Pirapaharan selected Tiger as the Tamil Eelam national insignia to present an image rooted in Dravidian civilization symbolizing martial velour and the uniqueness of Tamil language and culture.


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