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Tamil protest day 6

Rosalba Dean | 12.04.2009 00:22 | Anti-racism | Globalisation | Terror War

The march was attended by 200.000 people or more, that is at least a third of the Tamils living in the UK. They are asking for an end to the genocide in Sri Lanka and a permanent ceasefire, and aid, aid workers, human rights observers and journalists to be allowed in the war zone. 271 Tamil people were slaughtered yesterday alone and up to 4000 in the last 6 weeks. All the Tamils living in UK have friends and relatives there, many had family members killed. Use of chemical weapons (prohibited by international law) have been documented.

What I don't quite understand is why there are such low numbers of white and non-Tamil people supporting. There were a few activists, a small samba band, a banner from Stop the War coalition, a few socialists selling papers (not SWP) and hardly anybody else. Being White I felt I could stick out like a spot of domino. Please enlighten me: if thousands of people took part in the protests against the massacres in Gaza (and they did very well), why aren't them equally concerned about what is happening in Vanni, which is much, but much worst than the horrors that happened in Gaza - just look at the numbers, and the Sri Lankan army appear to be bent on the wholesale genocide of the Tamil population in the area.

Hungerstrike update: one of the hungerstrikers has suspended the hungerstrike for ten days, in order to go to the USA with a delegation, he went and spoke to the rally - or to be more precise he was taken to the rally on a wheelchair; the other man is still on hunger strike but taking liquids since yesterday, he is very weak and lying down most of the time, still under a makeshift plastic cover that lets the rain in, because the police won't allow him to have a tent (shame on them!). Several youths are doing a fast in solidarity, but not a full hungerstrike.

Leaving Parliament Square around 12 midnight (beginning of day 7!) there were about 300 people there. The police have been trying to bring down the numbers to 200 since Tuesday. The protest is now lawful as the police have allowed it, however they are trying to contain it by putting metal barriers. They have surrounded the grass with barriers and are trying to prevent people in excess to 200 to get to the square - with scarce success. They do not need to worry, as the protest is going to move soon to Marks & Spencer and Primark, main investors in cheap labour in Sri Lanka (hundred of thousands of teenage girls hooked to the sewing machine for up to 16 hours and $ 2 a day). It is rumored that about half of the clothes sold by Marks and Spencer are produced in Sri Lanka. The news have already been leaked to the press and all, moving the protest to M&S will keep media interest going, and it will nicely shake up the markets by scaring shareholders.
So if you want to do something seriously anti-capitalist and anti-war go and support!?!!

Rosalba Dean
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Display the following 4 comments

  1. The media on the hunger strike and protests — newsreader
  2. BBC coverage under "London" heading — onlyme
  3. Many Factors Involved — Little John
  4. In solidarity — FRFI activist