The Sri Lankan government’s celebrations of 69 years of independence provoked significant protest both in Sri Lanka and across the world. People in Kepapulavu in the Mullaitivu district have started a non-stop protest and fasting protest demanding the release of their land that has been continually occupied by the military since the end of the war in 2009. The government has continued to make promises, but has totally failed to withdraw troops and resettle the people. Trade unionists also held a “black day” march in Colombo. Sri Lanka Telecom Manpower workers demanding permanent contracts have faced significant threats from the current government. One trade union activist was abducted and subsequently released. Outraged trade union activist members joined the big protest march in Colombo. Tamils living in Britain, Belgium, Germany and other countries also held protests outside the Sri Lanka High Commissions demanding their freedom and democratic rights.
Tamil Solidarity, with the support of other diaspora groups, organised a protest outside the Sri Lanka High Commission in London. The over 100 participants expressed their outrage against the ongoing atrocities against Tamil-speaking people in Sri Lanka. Here are some of the demands that they put forward:
* Where are the missing people? We need to know what happened to each and every one of them.
*Release all political prisoners.
*Close down all secret camps and torture prisons.
*Give back all the land occupied by the military and government authorities.
*We demand an independent war crimes investigation.
*Persecute the killers and murderers of people, journalists and democratic rights activists. Why are the killers of Lasantha Wikrematunga still at large?
*Withdraw the troops from all occupied Tamil areas.
*Stop the privatisation in education and health.
*Allow equal pay and permanent status to SLT Manpower workers on strike
*We demand our independence.
*Defend the right to self-determination of the Tamil-speaking people.
Tamil Solidarity and protesters expressed solidarity with the SLT Manpower strikers and Kepapulavu protesters. “You are not alone in your fight” was the key message sent to them.
Here are some pictures from the protest.