Toronto, Nov. 28 (ANI): Despite the deportation of their keynote speaker, thousands of Tamils gathered at a banquet hall in Toronto to observe the annual "Martyrs' Day" commemoration of Tamil Tigers who died in Sri Lanka's 26-year civil war.
The day-long memorial event in Brampton went smoothly on Thursday despite the arrest and deportation of Sebastian Seeman, a firebrand Tiger sympathizer and Tamil film director.
Seeman, who was given bail in India over sedition charges, addressed a Tamil youth gathering in Ontario on Wednesday. However, law enforcement officials booted him home on Thursday before he could speak at the Martyrs' Day event, The Globe and Mail reports.
"We always have a Plan B for everything. We did not expect that to happen. I guess Canada doesn't respect the right of freedom of speech," Sahab Jesuthasan, 22, a spokesman for the event, said.
According to Canadian officials, Seeman was deported because he was inadmissible to Canada due to his remarks at Wednesday's rally.
His reportedly called for revenge on the Sinhalese, who form the majority in Sri Lanka and are blamed for decades of Tamil oppression in the island country.
Meanwhile, a stream of visitors observed the Martyrs' Day by placing gloriosa lilies, the official Tamil flower, on a shrine to the fallen.
The red-carpeted aisle leading to the shrine was lined with bouquets topped with miniature red Tamil flags bearing the crossed-rifles-and-roaring-Tiger emblem of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
A police spokesman said officers were aware of the event and would be "monitoring" it for criminal activity, but planned no disruptive action. (ANI)