‘We want freedom! We want Tamil Eelam! Stop the genocide’ shouted 2,000 Tamils demonstrating in central London yesterday.
The protest outside the Commonwealth Conference taking place in Pall Mall, was organised by the Tamil community in Britain against the attendance of Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapakse.
The demonstrators had huge banners saying ‘Go Home Warmonger’, ‘Suspend Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth’ and ‘Sri Lanka is a Terrorist State’.
Demonstrators were angry at the killings of civilians and journalists, as well as kidnappings and abductions by the Sri Lankan state forces.
They also accused the Sri Lanka government of blocking food aid sent for displaced and hungry Tamils.
Protesters carried placards saying ‘Welfare not Warfare’, ‘Food not Bombs’, ‘Protect Press Freedom’, ‘Tamils Are Resisting Genocide’ and ‘60 Years of Oppression of Tamils by Sri Lanka’.
Lohendran Logi of British Tamils Forum told News Line: ‘We are protesting because the president of Sri Lanka has come to the Commonwealth Conference. He is killing a lot of innocent people.
‘The Sri Lankan government is waging genocide against Tamils.
‘Sri Lankan forces are killing journalists as well.
‘We want to stop the killing, restore human rights and allow the Tamil people to live in peace.
‘I am very annoyed with the British government because it is doing nothing about the genocide in Sri Lanka.’
N. Vijayaysingham, former attache to the EU embassy, New Delhi, said: ‘The Western governments who speak of human rights have kept their mouths closed as far as the Tamils are concerned.
‘The Tamils took up arms when all forms of non-violent protest were met with state military terrorism.
‘The Tamils are freedom fighters, they are not terrorists.’
Pam Perin, formerly from Jaffna, added: ‘We want our Tamil people to live with full freedom, with full human rights and full freedom of speech, and to choose their own lifestyle.
‘We would like the Colombo government to treat the Tamils as equals in every way possible.
‘Otherwise we have to find our own path.’