Sunday was a pretty good Mother's Day. I sang a solo in church, we went in to Toronto to visit with my brother, my brother and i cooked dinner. It was great. Until we went to leave.
We left my brother's house at 8pm. We did not get back to Guelph until 11pm. The trip is usually an hour and a half max.
Why the delay? well, the Tamil Tigers decided to walk onto the Gardiner Expressway and block all traffic into the downtown core. (here's a newspaper report). Guess which road we take to get home from my brother's? They also blocked University Ave. protesting at Queen's Park, and as a result of all this, the police closed the Don Valley Parkway so that they could move emergency vehicles around. Traffic was bumper to bumper and we were all locked into going around in circles. All routes that were designed to get people out of that part of the city were blocked.
Every way we tried, we inched along with the rest of the traffic, until we all discovered that the way was blocked by a police cruiser four blocks down. We were on the phone with my brother trying to find a way out of the city. It was like a highspeed police chase in an action movie, only really slow, and infinitely frustrating.
I respect the cause that they are protesting and I can understand the strain and desperation they feel trying to save their families in Sri Lanka when no one is listening to them. But when you come around the same corner for the fifth time and encounter more Tamil-Canadians going towards the protest laughing, with their children skipping along beside them like it is an outing to the park, you lose respect for the protest.
But you remain in awe of the organization. There were almost 3 thousand people on the Gardiner, and another couple of thousand at Queen's Park and the American Consulate. To organize a protest of that magnitude without the authorities knowing is impressive. Even more impressive is that there were no visible Tamil leaders to negotiate with.
Even scarier was that it was so easy to quickly and effectively shut down downtown Toronto.