About 30 demonstrators gathered at the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Saturday, waving Tunisian flags and holding signs calling for social justice in the North African country.
Mokhtar Asmi, who immigrated to Canada three years ago from Tunisia, said the rally he helped organize at Queen's Park is "to support the people and the innocent lives who died fighting for democracy."
Tunisia's capital city, Tunis, remains in a state of emergency after 24 hours of violent street protests drove the country's president, Zine El Albedeen Ben Ali, out of the country. A new president, Fouad Mebazza, was sworn-in Saturday but the tension remains high.
"The second message that we want to send to the Canadian government is to ask and urge them not to support any person who is involved in corrupting and stealing money from the Tunisian people," Asmi said.
Mebazza — formerly the speaker of the Tunisia's parliament — has asked Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi to form "a national unity government in the country's best interests."
For more than 23 years, Ben Ali presided over a repressive regime that many said was corrupt and served only the interests of a small elite ruling class. He relied heavily on the police to quash opposition until he was overthrown.
Asmi said there are about 100 Tunisian families in Toronto, but most Tunisian-Canadians live in Montreal.