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Review: Worldwide Daily Tamil Protests – Week 1

April 11, 2009

by Gogol G.

Protests’ Spark – Allegations of Chemical Weapon Attacks Killing Hundreds

Tamils around the world have been protesting simultaneously.  These protests have started spontaneously, in various places, the earliest starting on April 4.  The reason for the intensity of these protests is because of the rumours of chemical weapons deployed heavily by the SL military.  Allegations of the chemical weapons attacks have been supported by ground reports from people near the battlefield, and pictures released by the military itself of the hundreds of Tigers it widely announced it killed from April 3 – 4. (Pic 1 Pic 2 Pic 3 Pic 4 Pic 5 Pic 6 Pic 7 Pic 8 Pic 9 Pic 10 Pic 11 Pic 12 ).  There are also questions why the SL military websites decided to blur the faces in some of the pictures, which they have never done before.  I.e., what are they trying to hide?  There seems to be no suggestion of wounds, let alone any unsightly.  And meanwhile, other pictures from the same set are shown in their originals.  (Blurred pics 1 Unblurred pics 1)  While the link and/or content may be altered later, this SL govt. military webpage is one of many sources for pics.  Reports say that the Sri Lankan military is using mustard gas, and the pictures above look similar to other examples of mustard gas victims.

Protests – Day 1, April 4, 2009

Sri Lanka: Suspicions arise after SL military claims hundreds of killings in one day.  Many rumours of huge SL attack swirling.
Paris, France: Athirvu: More than 1000 Take Part in Enormous March (in Tamil) More than 1000 Tamil protesters marched towards the areas where France’s Foreign Ministry is located.
Melbourne, Australia: Protests by Tamils, counter-protests by Sinhalese, Tamils attacked when driving past the Sinhalese protest (video)
Melbourne, Australia: Sinhalese mob attacks Tamil demonstrators in Melbourne, TamilNet

Protests – Day 2, April 5, 2009

Sri Lanka: Rumours of attack continue. More news of SL military success, SL military publishes pics, including LTTE corpses with obvious burn marks.  Many of the Tigers’ apparati, like their radio station Voice of the Tigers (and its website), ground sources, and news sites close to ground sources, had been silent on any information about the Tigers.  Many have doubts on chemical attack allegations, given that no claim was made by the LTTE itself, even.
Melbourne, Australia: SBS TV News report on April 4 Sinhalese mob attack in Melbourne and followup (youtube video)

Protests – Day 3, April 6, 2009

Sri Lanka: Reports appear in Tamil news regarding the SL military attack say that a surrounded group of LTTE, including high-ranking commanders, were putting up fierce resistance when they were gas bombed.  SL troops who subsequently moved into the area were said to experience effects from the gas, too.  Pictures of dead LTTE fighters (see pictures at top of this page) are posted and examined by many.
Antwerp, Belgium: Athirvu: In Antwerp, Belgium, Yesterday (06-04-09) Awareness Protest (in Tamil)
Geneva, Bern, and Zurich, Switzerland: Tamilwin: Continuous Awareness Protests by Tamil People in Swiss Cities of Geneva, Bern, and Zurich (photos) (in Tamil)  Includes a picture of a large banner held by the protesters that says “Stop Killing Tamils with Chemical Bombs”.
London, UK: TamilNet: British Tamils block Westminster Bridge, demand ceasefire About 5,000 protesters arrived at Westminster Bridge at noon
London, UK: Athirvu: Road Blockage Protest, Continues at Night Too, People Refusing to Go Home (video) (in Tamil)
London, UK: politics.co.uk: Overnight, 300 protestors remain on Westminster Bridge throughout the night. (audio interviews).
London, UK: guardian.co.uk: Ambi Seevaratnam, Tamil Protester On Westminster Bridge (audio) Protests were organized entirely by students.
London, UK: BBC World News: Tamil protesters on Westminster Bridge overnight (youtube video)

Protests – Day 4, April 7, 2009

Sri Lanka: Doubts about the use of chemical weapons were finally ended for some when the LTTE officially alleged that the SL military deployed chemical weapons, and thus ended its 3-4 days-long silence.  Rumours of Indian involvement are supported by more public reports, which also say that 35-50% of the 59th division filled by Indian commandos, and India is giving Sri Lanka intelligence, weapons, ammo, and advisors/advice for free.
Sri Lanka: Toronto Star: Sri Lanka recalls Srebrenica, says U.S. lawyer ” ‘That’s just further corroboration that it just isn’t Tamils who find what is ongoing so harrowing, those who have no vested interest in distorting the facts and views also see genocide in the landscape in the Northeast in Sri Lanka,’ says [Bruce] Fein in a phone interview.”  Bruce Fein was the US Associate Deputy Attorney General in the Ronald Reagan administration.
The Hague, Netherlands: Tamilwin: For the Third Day, Continuous Protests Outside of Parliament (photos) (in Tamil)
Copenhagen, Denmark: Tamilwin: Continuous Protests in Denmark: 6 People in Hunger-Strike (photos) (in Tamil) A protest begins outside of the Foreign Ministry in the capital city, Copenhagen.  Because the expected responses were not received from the Foreign Ministry, and because the allotted time for the protest expired, 6 people began a hunger strike protest to continue outside the Foreign Ministry.  This included 5 youth and one old woman.
Copenhagen, Denmark: Tamilwin: Continuing Protest In Front of Danish Foreign Ministry (photos) (in Tamil)
New York City, USA: TamilNet: Ramsey Clark to address New York protest Hunger strike begins today (Tuesday) outside of the US mission to the UN, and will last until Thursday evening.
Oslo, Norway: AlertNet: Tamil supporters protest in London, Oslo
Oslo, Norway: TamilNet: No more excuses in waging the war – Protestors in Oslo One protester said: “Only a few hundred LTTE cadres remain in Vanni was the estimation of Colombo’s military, a few weeks ago. Colombo claimed that nearly 500 LTTE cadres were killed this weekend. Therefore any further war only means open genocide of people.”
Oslo, Norway: Athirvu: In Norway, Protest Outside of the Prime Minister’s Front Door (pictures) (in Tamil)
Oslo, Norway: Athirvu: Protest in Norway, Transportation Stoppage in Oslo (video) (in Tamil)
Ottawa, Canada: Embassy: Tamils Take Protest to Harper’s Front Door Canadian Tamils begin their first day of protests in the streets around Parliament in Ottawa
Ottawa, Canada: CBC: Ottawa streets blocked during Sri Lankan war protest In Ottawa, crowds gathered carrying Tamil flags and chanting, “No more genocide,” “Stop the war,” and “Canada, help us.”
Ottawa, Canada: Ottawa Sun: Sri Lankan Tamils Protest in Ottawa (photos) photo gallery of first day of Canadian Tamil protests
London, UK: guardian.co.uk: Ambi Seevaratnam, Tamil Protester On Westminster Bridge (audio)  Ambi Seevaratnam was assured early morning by Simon Hughes, MP that the protesters could stay on Westminster Bridge.  Permission to demonstrate on April 11 was obtained, but chemical attacks killing hundreds/thousands was the reason for students going ahead impromptu, days earlier, with the protest without permission.  Chief Inspector Steve Marshall, in charge of the police operation, was told by Ambi Seevaratnam about the assurance by Simon Hughes to the protesters but proceeded anyways.
London, UK:
guardian.co.uk: Inthu Rubarajah, Tamil Protester On Westminster Bridge (audio) – “Not only were the peope upset that [the police] took the flag, they were upset that they were herded like animals.  It has [made us even more angry].  We’re fighting for human rights in Sri Lanka, we thought we had the rights in this country, but obviously we don’t.  You know, we thought the British Police would support us, the British community would support us, but they’re preventing us from fighting against the justices back home.  Yesterday, 1000 people died because of a chemical bomb bombed by the Sri Lankan government.  Many civilians died.  That’s why this protest happened so quickly.”
London, UK: politics.co.uk: British police attack protestors without warning at 7:30am, until they were moved off Westminster Bridge to Parliament Square (audio interviews)  Protesters suffered injuries, one person had a heart attack.  One person was arrested under Terrorism Act 2000 for waving a Tamil Tiger flag.  It is unclear how his freedom of speech is different from the other thousands of protestors whose rights to speech are protected.
London, UK: UK Times Online: British police forcibly seize flags from protesters and threaten to make ‘a huge number of arrests’ as the size of the protest swells back to 1000 during the daytime. (video)
London, UK: UK Times Online: Pictures: Tamil protesters (photos) Picture gallery
London, UK: ITN News: Angry Tamils stage bridge protest in Westminster, London UK (youtube video)
London, UK: guardian.co.uk: British police dragging and manhandling protesters (youtube video)
London, UK: BBC World News: Arrests at Tamil rally in London (youtube video)  BBC News uses the euphemism “move on” to mean “forcibly (re-)move”.  One protester: “We have relatives there.  We have heard 3 of them have died.  3 of them have been tortured and lost their limbs.  3 of them have lost their children.”
London, UK: BBC News: Tamil protesters vent their fury (video) BBC continues to use the euphemisms “move on” for “forcibly move”, “scuffles” for the physical force used by police, “minor injuries” for sprains, broken limbs, scrapes, fainting, and a heart attack.  Tamils are shown as angry mob.  Police “moving” of protesters said to be beginning of “deterioration” of protest (“melee”), but no mention of the promise by the MP to stay on the bridge the previous night.
London, UK: BBC News: Six arrests at London Tamil demo (video)  This article was previously titled “Thousands protest in Tamil rally” on the BBC website.
London, UK: BBC News: In picutres: Tamils’ London rally
London, UK: guardian.co.uk: Five arrested in clashes at London Sri Lanka rally (video, audio interviews)  Audio interviewee, Vannan, references the reports of the gas attack killing hundreds, and of Indian army supporting the Sri Lankan government in the fighting.  Interviewee also says that a 3-year-old in the protest had broken limbs after being manhandled by British police.  Audio interviewee Kavitha Sathiyamoorthy violently pushed and dragged by Police, suffocated, but refusing to go for an X-ray so as to stay in protest.  Worse happened to her father in SL when he protested similarly, and he was saved by Amnesty International.  Kavitha says her family escaped to freedom, but the British police are treating people like her like animals, too.
London, UK: TamilNet: ‘It is not the way for post-conflict ambitions,’ say London protestors Includes a picture of Kavitha Sathiyamoorthy, interviewed in Guardian article above, whose arm was injured and put in a sling due to police aggression
London, UK: UK Times Online: Tamil protesters on hunger strike at the Houses of Parliament 2 young Tamil protesters begin a hunger strike
London, UK: CNN: Tamils protest outside UK Parliament
London, UK: ITV: Angry Tamils stage bridge protest
London, UK: mirror.co.uk: Tamil war demo sparks river alert
London, UK: UK Mail Online: Protesters clash with police as thousands of Tamils lay siege to Parliament several pictures depicting the protests and police actions
London, UK: Mail & Guardian, South Africa: A Tale of Two Protests “… Where the Tamils’ protest was grounded by some kind of political vision — of a future homeland, of an end to war, of winning international respect for Tamils’ rights and equality — the G20 protest was a mish-mash…  Hence the Tamils, despite facing a far more terrifying predicament than anything experienced by the middle-class, messy-haired boys and girls outside the Bank of England last week, made demands that were rooted and measured. …”
London, UK: Londonist:Tamil Protestors Close Down Westminster Bridge

Protests – Day 5, April 8, 2009

Sri Lanka: An on-the-ground report details an examination of 2 victims by a doctor in the Safe Zone, peer-reviewed by an experienced UK doctor, and concludes that mustard gas was used.  More reports of Indian involvement appear, which also state that Tamil civilians, Indian troops, and SL troops were also killed by the gas missile attack.  They were unprepared for the gas due the sudden decision of Indian commanders to launch the gas missiles from the Indian commandos base in Dharmapuram (next to the fighting).  Reports also indicate Indian soldiers’ bodies said to be secretly brought back to India (Pune and Nungambaakkam, Tamil Nadu).
Aukland, New Zealand: Tamilwin: Continuous Awareness Struggles in New Zealand: Three People in Hunger-Strike (in Tamil)
Vienna, Austria: Tamilwin: Awareness Protest in Front of Foreign Ministry in Vienna, Austria (picturs) (in Tamil)
Paris, France: Tamilwin: Continuing Emotional Awakening Protests in France (photos) (in Tamil)
Bern, Switzerland: Tamilwin: Awareness Protests in the Major Cities of Switzerland (photos) (in Tamil)  Today is the 3rd day of continuous protests in Bern and Geneva.
Sydney and Melbourne, Australia: TamilNet: Tamil protesters bring traffic to a halt in Australia
Melbourne, Australia: SBS: Tamils protest in Melbourne (video)
Sydney, Australia: Sydney Morning Herald: CBD blocked by Tamil protest (video)
New York City, USA: Hunger strike continues outside of the US mission to the UN
Ottawa, Canada: Canadian Tamils Protest in Ottawa CTV NEWS – 8th April 2009 (youtube video)
Ottawa, Canada: Tamils protest in Ottawa outisde Parliament and on Wellington St. (youtube video)  A car seems to come out of nowhere and run into an old lady and old man in the protest, and then backs away at the 6:15 mark.  At the 8:15 mark, a man speaking in Tamil to Canadian Tamil audiences references the gas bombs being used by the SL military.
Ottawa, Canada: CBC: Tamil protesters delay traffic near Parliament Hill for 2nd day
London, UK: BBC News:Tamils begin third day of protest (video)  The protests in London enter their 3rd day.
London, UK: Metro News: Tamil protesters still occupy square
London, UK: UK Times Online: Tamil protesters on hunger strike at the Houses of Parliament The 2 Tamil protesters have now been on a hunger-strike for 30 hours.  One of the 2 young men says that 5 members of his family were killed in the recent chemical gas attack by the SL army.  The other says he has lost all contact with his grandmother and cousins.
London, UK: Enfield Independent: Hundreds of Enfield Tamils have had relatives killed or displaced says MP Joan Ryan, Enfield MP, joins the protest to say and ask, “I am not saying I defend the Tamil Tigers, I just expect high standards from the Government of Sri Lanka. They say they are a democratic government, but why are they killing such large numbers of their own population?”
London, UK: UK : British Tamil Protest still going strong (youtube video) Youth spokesperson speaks on the reason for the spontaneous protests was the poison gas bombs deployed by the SL military on Tamils in the war over the weekend.  She describes being given weak excuses by the UK Foreign Minister’s office.  Both police super-intendents on the overlapping shifts covering the first day of the protest promised her, personally, that they would not get violent on protesters if protesters were peaceful, but despite Tamil protesters not attacking police, after many protesters went home for the night, the police attacked people over 60, kids under 6 years old, and broke the arms of 18-year-olds.  The next day, the police did not allow her to speak again to the super-intendent.
London, UK: Sky News: Third Day Of Tamil Protests In Westminster (video)
London, UK: BBC: London Tamils refuse to move (video)
London, UK: Daily Express: Tamils in battle at Commons (video)
London, UK: Photographer Leon Neal’s pictures of the London protests, along with comments (photos) “…When a protest genuinely means something to the people in the street, you can feel it.  There have been no threats of violence, no smashing of shops windows, no graffiti. On the first night, I was constantly approached by people in the crowd to thank me for taking time to cover their protest.  I, as well as the police that were surrounding them, was offered a share of their food and drink.  Young guys in hoodies would approach me, ask who I was representing and then begin an eloquent and heart-felt explanation of why they were there including details of political history and dates of events. ….”
London, UK: Londonist: Tamil Demonstrations Day Three
London, UK: Reuters: Tamil supporters protest for third day

Protests – Day 6, April 9, 2009

Sri Lanka: guardian.co.uk: Sri Lankan hospital shelled in Tamil no-fire zone (audio) The SL army bombs a hospital with 500 patients waiting.  (Video interviews of previously-bombed hospitals were reguarly broadcast via Youtube by Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation until the TROKilinochchi user account was deleted on March 14.  The videos provided on-the-ground footage to CNN, Sky News, Al-Jazeera, and Cannel 4, among others, and which angered the SL Defence Minister who believes hospitals are legitimate military targets.
Sri Lanka: Human Rights Watch: Sri Lanka: Stop Shelling ‘No-Fire Zone’ – “Sri Lanka’s so-called ‘no-fire zone’ is now one of the most dangerous places in the world,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Security Council has quibbled over protocol when it should be acting to bring an end to this ghastly loss of life.”
Durban, South Africa: TamilNet: TNA Ex-MP to begin hunger strike in South Africa A Tamil ex-MP, who represent Tamils in the Northeast of Sri Lanka, begins his hunger strike in Durban, South Africa.
Ottawa, Canada: Ottawa Citizen: Worried about hostilities in Sri Lanka, Canada calls for ceasefire Protesters continue to come and go, and the 4 protesters on a hunger fast are continuing, including a 74-year-old woman.
Ottawa, Canada: National Post: Canada wants Sri Lanka ceasefire, Tamil protests continue – “It’s not up to me to put an end to protest,” said Mr. Cannon [Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister]. “People are allowed to protest in Canada. We live in a democracy. People are allowed to go and express their ideas, their concerns.”
New York City, USA: TamilNet: Ramsey Clark to address New York protest Ramsey Clark, former US Attorney General, is expected to address to the hunger-striking protesters outside of the US mission to the UN in the evening.
London, UK: Video interview with the 2 youth who are fasting in protest (youtube video)  Interview is given when the 2 hunger-strikers had been without food and water for 50 hours.
London, UK: Evening Standard: Why these Tamil sons in London, mourning their slain mothers in Sri Lanka, have placed Westminster under siege.  “Besides, as Subramaniyam Paramestvaran, one of a pair of Tamil students from Mitcham who have gone on hunger strike in Parliament Square, told me: ‘My mother, brother and sisters were killed two days ago in [Vanni] by the Sri Lankans, using poison gas. They say they are attacking the LTTE [the Tamil Tigers] but there have been pictures of these dead babies in the papers.’ ”

Protests – Day 7, April 10, 2009

Milan, Italy: Tamilwin: Awareness Event in Milan, Italy (in Tamil)
Sweden: Tamilwin: Obstruction Protest on the Front Door of the Indian Embassy in Sweden (in Tamil)
New York City, USA: TamilNet: New York protest extends to US, Mexico, India missions of UN
Washington, DC, USA: TamilNet: US Tamil groups meet with State Department on Sri Lanka crisis – US Tamils clearly and articulately spell out what many of the Tamil Diaspora think to the current US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia and to the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka.
Durban, South Africa: TamilNet: TNA Ex-MP on hunger-strike calls for immediate ceasefire Day 2 of hunger strike by Eelaventhan (former Tamil MP in SL)
Oslo, Norway: AFP: Tamils call on Norway to act over Sri Lanka conflict
Australia: SBS Radio: Mass demonstrations in Australia over Lanka conflict
Ottawa, Canada: CTV: Thousands of Tamil protesters remain at Parliament Hill Thousands Tamils are protesting on Good Friday, and many more are expected to join over the weekend.  Ottawa Police is giving out pamphlets “reminding protesters” of the penal codes.  A dump truck came and removed the belongings of protesters.  Transport Minister John Baird told CTV Ottawa Friday afternoon, “They’ve been a persecuted minority for some time, and our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones.”
Ottawa, Canada: Ottawa Citizen: Rally gains strength with new arrivals Day 4 of protests in Canada sees a huge influx of protesters, most likely in the tens of thousands, during the Good Friday holiday.
Ottawa, Canada: Ottawa Citizen: ‘A well-mobilized, orchestrated campaign’ No mention is made in this article of any of the recent news of gas attacks, or that this is the spark of the protests.  The article quotes Fen Hampson, who focuses a lot of attention on the Tigers, and says unhelpfully, “There’s something to be said for ratcheting up the pressure on the Sri Lankan government, and I suspect we’re doing it quietly. Whether they’re receptive to it is another matter. They haven’t been all that receptive to entreaties before.”
Ottawa, Canada: Ottawa Citizen: Tamil desperately waits for news from family
Ottawa, Canada: CBC: Tamil protests continue for 4th day Ottawa professional joined protests as body count from Sri Lanka mounts.
London, UK: UK Telegraph: Fears for Tamil hunger strike protesters in London
London, UK: UK Times Online: Worries over Tamil hunger strike duo as Parliament protest reaches fifth day
London, UK: UK Times Online: Tamil hunger strikers finally accept fluids at Parliament protest
London, UK: UK Times Online: A shameful siege – On the brink of victory in war, Colombo is already losing the peace
London, UK: UK Independent: A fight to the death in Westminster

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