Over 150,000 people attended the TUC–organised march on 20 October. Tamil Solidarity campaigners participated and expressed the organisation’s support for workers fighting against austerity. Before the demo Tamil Solidarity had campaigned among Tamil workers, calling on them to march and join the fightback.
The size of the march provided Tamil Solidarity campaigners with a fantastic opportunity to communicate their cause directly to as many trade union members as possible. We decided to make the most of it by setting up a stall in Embankment early in the morning and we set up a stall in Hyde Park at midday.
Throughout the day, we divided our efforts between handing out leaflets which gave general information about the organisation, and enticing people over to our stall to sign the petition with our demands – which include the demand for an independent investigation into the war crimes allegations against the Sri Lankan government and support for independent trade unions in Sri Lanka among other things.
Several young Tamil people helped to run the campaign stalls. We also gave out leaflets about the protest against the construction of the Koodangkulam nuclear plant in India and advertised the “how to fight racism” Tamil Solidarity meeting. We collected hundreds of signatures in support of our campaign.
The response was very positive; some people seemed to have heard about the situation in Sri Lanka and to know friends and relatives affected by it and there were several who were very interested and knowledgeable about the problems in Sri Lanka and wanted to help the organisation.
We also appealed to the many trade union members there to pass a motion affiliating their trade union branch to Tamil Solidarity.
Our aim now is to further increase the number of people who join us and to continue to raise money to fund our work, which is an urgent objective for Tamil Solidarity.