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‘Wish and reality of Sri Lanka’s Independence’

[TamilNet, Saturday, 5 February 2011 08:51 No Comment]

 “I wish all Sri Lankans around the world a happy celebration and continued peace and prosperity in the coming year," said a statement harping on "post-war reconciliation" released from the office of the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, on the eve of the independence day of Sri Lanka on 4th February. But the imposed celebration was largely ignored inside the island and outside, the day drew protests across the world by Eezham Tamils. “Sri Lankan High Commission has invited the Sri Lankan community for a reception to celebrate their independence. We will assemble outside the embassy to condemn the Sri Lankans celebrating while denying the Tamils their right to independence,” the call for protest in London said. Demonstrations were held in London, Toronto and in Oslo. Addressing protesters in Oslo, Conservative Party (Høyre) leader Erna Solberg called for war-crimes investigations.

 
A banner displayed by demonstrators in Toronto

In the previous years, the occupying SL troops used to create a semblance of celebration in the Tamil districts, by intimidating the people. But this time the people decided to ignore such intimidations. People largely stayed indoors while street checks and the presence of troops in the streets were intense.

Pressed by the SL military, only the shops had the Sri Lanka flag in Jaffna. The Sri Lanka Government Agent Imelda Sugumar hoisted the Sri Lanka flag at the secretariat in Jaffna. Only the music of the Sinhala anthem was played in Jaffna, while the anthem was sung in Sinhala in Ki’linochchi and Vavuniyaa secretariats.

In Vanni and in the East, the floods have blunted the enthusiasm of even the SL occupiers from demonstrating simulated celebrations.

Hundreds of Eezham Tamils demonstrated outside the parliament in Oslo on Friday.

Demonstrators in front of the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Toronto carried placards urging the occupying Sri Lanka to leave Tamil Eelam.

In London the police who initially objected to the Tamil Eelam national flag carried by the demonstrators left the scene when the demonstrators questioned the legality of the objection.

Later, the Sri Lankan High Commission officials sent some ‘counter protesters’ from inside the High Commission premises. As tension developed, police intervened and sent those ‘counter protesters’ back inside the High Commission.

Parallel to the demonstration outside the High Commission, there was another demonstration in front of the British PM’s official residence at No 10 Downing Street and the Eezham Tamil community was also engaged in a signature campaign in different locations in London, against detentions and disappearances in the island.

Meanwhile, there were also protests in London against UN Secretary General, Ban ki Moon, when he came to address a lecture organised by the Department of Politics and International Relations of the Oxford University on Wednesday.

“I want to be re-elected. 40,000 innocent people were massacred in Sri Lanka and I did nothing. You decide,” the placards carrying the picture of the Secretary General read.

During the question and answer session following his address, there was a question from Tim Martin of Act Now on Sri Lanka.

"The UN has failed to ‘prevent and protect’ in such countries as Sri Lanka where up to 40,000 innocent civilians were massacred in 2009. Will you ensure during your term that those responsible are brought to justice? Will you ensure there is a proper independent investigation into war crimes and will you push for a UN referendum as the situation in Sri Lanka is the same as in south Sudan? The people have the same cultural differences, a different language and a different religion," was the question.

The main point of Ban ki Moon’s reply was that “political stability and justice should go hand in hand. And that is what I have been doing to achieve even in Sri Lanka and I will continue to do that.”

Deliberately tilting the balance to destroy the political stability of Eezham Tamils and then talking of hand in hand political stability and justice, is double injustice, commented a diaspora activist in London.

 
Eezham Tamil protesters in front of the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Toronto

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Protesters at No 10 Downing Street in London

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Tamil activists in London were seen distributing leaflets and collecting signatures to appeal in prime locations of London which included Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, Victoria, Waterloo, Paddington, Oxford circus and Oxford Street. The British Tamils Forum (BTF) re-lunched its campaign

 

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