In early April, hundreds of thousands of primarily Sinhala protestors filled the streets of Colombo, enduring tear gas and water cannons, as they inched closer to the presidential compounds, demanding the resignation of Sri Lanka’s President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Photograph: Gardiner Expressway, May 10, 2009 Thirteen years ago, I was among tens of thousands in Toronto’s Tamil community who protested the war in Sri Lanka. I remember waking up on Mother’s Day that year to the horrific news that an all-night artillery barrage killed nearly 1,000 people in a single night. After weeks of candlelight vigils, letter-writing campaigns and petitioning, we felt desperate to draw the world’s attention to Sri Lanka’s escalating genocide against the Tamil people. Later that day, thousands of us occupied the Gardiner Expressway . It would become a landmark event in the history of our community.