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Protest over UK role in Sri Lanka

[BBC, Monday, 18 May 2009 07:20 No Comment]

Protesters have burned an effigy of Foreign Secretary David Miliband during a demonstration outside the British High Commission in Sri Lanka.

They accused the UK government of supporting the Tamil Tiger rebels.

More than 1,000 people massed outside the building in Colombo after Sri Lanka leaders claimed victory in the 25-year conflict which has left 70,000 dead.

Protesters threw rotten eggs and stones at the embassy compound, before tossing the burning effigy over its walls.

A spokesman from the commission said some of the compound’s stonework was damaged, graffiti was sprayed on the walls and a CCTV camera was blacked out during the hour-long protest.

"There was no damage to the inner compound, and no-one from the commission has been injured," he added.

Ceasefire calls

Mr Miliband has repeatedly called for a ceasefire in the conflict and for civilians to be allowed to leave the war-torn northern area.

The UK said on Sunday it would give another £5m in aid to Sri Lanka amid concerns for those trapped in the zone where the last rebels remain.

Fighting was reported to be continuing in the zone on Monday, with four senior Tamil Tiger leaders killed during clashes.

Sri Lanka’s army says the last rebel fighters have been penned in to a 1.5km-square patch of jungle.

Hundreds of Tamil supporters in London are also continuing to protest over the conflict, which is estimated to have killed up to 8,000 people this year.

Announcing the aid, International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said: "It is vital that the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers allow international agencies immediate access to the thousands of people driven from their homes by the fighting."

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