10,000 Tamils demonstrate on streets of Oslo
Sri Lankan embassy temporarily over-run
Tamils living in Scandinavia mobilised to a joint demonstration in Oslo, Friday 17 April, against the Sri Lankan government’s racist war on Tamils. Demonstrators from Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway came in buses to the Frogner Park in Oslo.
The main theme was for an immediate ceasefire. Slogans shouted on the streets were: “We demand a ceasefire!” and “Sweden and Norway have responsibilities!”. The desperate position of hundreds of thousands of Tamils who are under bombardment or are refugees created an extra tense mood.
The demonstration stopped at several squares around the city to create attention for what is going on in Sri Lanka. It was a very lively demonstration with drums and shouting of slogans for three hours of marching.
Speakers came from different organisations, such as Norway’s Labour Party, Socialist Youth, human rights organisations plus some university academics. They mainly spoke about the present military attack by the army and the history of Sri Lanka.
I was the invited speaker from Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna, Sweden. I raised about our sister party, the United Socialist Party, and its fight against the war and in defence of the rights of Tamils, including the right of self-determination. At the same time, I stressed the need for a common struggle – Tamils and Sinhalese, workers and poor, to stop the government’s military war against the Tamils and economic war against both Tamils and Sinhalese. Unfortunately, there were some strong nationalist elements in the demonstration, some of whom questioned us about selling a socialist newspaper and giving out our leaflets. However, the response was much better after my speech.
I also warned against illusions in foreign and imperialist governments. These are, at the moment, either supporting or ignoring the war. If they act, it will only be in their own interests. The European Union gets all its information about the situation from the Sri Lankan government.
[Footnote. The Rajapakse propaganda machine has whipped up ‘patriotic’ anger against Norwegians for the storming of the Sri Lankan embassy in Oslo just after this protest.]
Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna, Sweden