10:14 EDT: Protesters are slowly trickling in to Ottawa to line up along Wellington Street in front of Parliament. They are facing inward to the road where their signs point mostly to passing cars. However, with reports of up to 25,000 protesters, many drivers are avoiding the downtown area. I’ve been in Ottawa for two months now and have started to get a sense of normal security procedures for protests and other events on the Hill. Normal security is in place. The crowd is small so far- I’ve seen more people at the weekend protests, but we will keep you updated throughout the day. I am glad to see that the protesters have replaced the Tamil Tiger flag that they had been waving at previous protests. Solid black flags and Canadian flags are now in use.
12:45 EDT The crowd has grown by the thousands since I last reported two hours ago. The crowd now covers a good portion of the lawn in front of Parliament. Barricades keep the crowd from moving up to Parliament Hill. The demonstrators were successful in discontinuing use of the Tamil Tiger flag- I have not seen the flag at all this morning. There is a break in the crowd all along the center walkway where a demonstrator with a megaphone paces, shouting slogans. Chants include “Genocide” and “UN Ceasefire.” I’ve not yet seen any speeches. MP’s are considering an emergency debate in the House to discuss the issue.
4:22 EDT: The protest is beginning to wind down. I spoke to some of the protesters and got a little more background on the conflict than has been reported. The conflict really goes back to colonialism and what happened when the British left the area in 1948. In school my history classes pretty much started at the American Revolution (and, in Georgia, sometimes ended with the Civil War), so there is a lot to catch up on. The Tamil protesters advocate a two-state solution, but for the Tamils to be recognized as an independent state with its own borders, someone, the UN?, would have to step in.